Godolphin's Group 1 Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow has settled into the quarantine barn for his bid in next weekend's Jockey Club Gold Cup. The 4-year-old Irish-bred Helmet colt arrived at Belmont from England around 3 a.m. Friday, where his training will be overseen by Tommy Burns, traveling manager to trainer Saeed bin Suroor.
“Our flying groom, Chris Webster, who's one of the best around, said he traveled brilliant,” said Burns. “He drank well, ate well. In our experience, he's been a very good traveler and it's not a problem for him.”
Thunder Snow is scheduled to clear quarantine before the end of training hours on Sunday, when he is expected to train over the main track for the first time.
“He had a nice walk around this morning. We'll just take a couple of easy days until he gets out of quarantine and then see how he is, but he seems in good order,” Burns said. “I'll speak to Saeed every day, so we'll take it day by day and plan from there.”
Thunder Snow's only previous trip to North America resulted in a disappointing non-run in the 2017 Kentucky Derby, where he began bucking shortly after leaving the gate and was pulled up by jockey Christophe Soumillon on the front side of Churchill Downs.
Since the Derby, Thunder Snow won the 2017 Group 1 Prix Jean Prat on the turf in France, and this winter, he competed in all three preps at Meydan Racecourse for the Dubai World Cup, winning Round 2 of the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge in February and finishing second in the other two.
He earned a 111 Beyer Speed Figure for his World Cup victory, taken in frontrunning fashion by 5 ¾ lengths over 2017 Travers and Pennsylvania Derby winner West Coast on March 31. In his only start since then, Thunder Snow set the early pace in the Group 1 Juddmonte International before fading to eighth on August 22 at York.
Other international shippers for September Super Saturday stakes are Group 3 winner Teodoro, pointed to the Grade 1, $500,000 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic for trainer Thomas Dascombe and scheduled to arrive Sunday, September 23; and Mendelssohn, second to dual-surface Grade 1 winner Catholic Boy in the Travers on August 25 and on target for the Gold Cup for trainer Aidan O'Brien, is due to touch down on Tuesday, September 25.
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