He was the first horse to win the UAE Derby and Dubai World Cup in consecutive seasons, and now Godolphin homebred Thunder Snow has become the first horse to win two editions of the Dubai World Cup. In 2018, Christophe Soumillon sent the Saeed bin Suroor trainee to the front and never looked back, but this year Thunder Snow had to sit just off the pacesetters. Gronkowski took the lead at the head of the lane and was game all the way to the line, but a fully-extended Thunder Snow gave his all to win by a nose. The 5-year-old son of Helmet completed 1 1/4 miles over Meydan's fast main track in 2:03.87, bringing home the winner's share of the $12 million purse.
Thunder Snow paid $10.60 to win in the U.S. pools. It was bin Suroor's ninth win in the Dubai World Cup.
“He is a such a brave horse,” bin Suroor said. “I wasn't sure if he had won, but we had the best jockey in the world on board and he knows him so well. He has won the UAE Derby and now the Dubai World Cup twice on him from wide draws and they are a great team. I think this is my 191st Group 1 winner but it ranks very highly, probably along with Dubai Millennium in 2000 when he won this race. As for Thunder Snow, I will have to speak with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, but I would like if he could run in America again. Maybe in New York, in Saratoga with the final plan being the Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita.”
The Antonio Sano-trained Gunnevera finished best of the American contingent, rallying from last to finish third, 2 3/4 lengths behind the winner. The 5-year-old son of Dialed In has consistently shown up on the biggest stages, running second last year in both the G1 Woodward and the Breeders' Cup Classic, and the horse now boasts career earnings of $5,564,277. His 2019 Dubai World Cup third was a bit of a redemption for his eighth-place finish last year, in which Gunnevera suffered a serious hoof laceration that required several months to heal.
“My horse ran a very, very good race,” jockey Emisael Jaramillo said of Gunnevera. “My position in post number one was no good, but my horse is a beautiful, beautiful horse. It was a very good finish. He finished so good even with the position no good. He gave me everything. He tried so hard. He has so much heart. He gave me all. He was excellent.”
Relegated to the 12th post position, Thunder Snow had to break from the gate running as North America went to for the lead at the rail. Gronkowski moved up three-wide to challenge North America down the backstretch, with Thunder Snow between those two rivals in third as Soumillon awaited his chance to make a move.
North America gave in at the head of the lane, leaving Gronkowski all alone on the lead and trying to draw away from the field. Thunder Snow set his sights on the wire, inching toward the leader with every stride, and though Gronkowski dug back in on the inside Thunder Snow won by short nose. Gunnevera finished third in a photo over Pavel and Audible. The remaining order of finish was: Yoshida, North America, Seeking the Soul, Axelrod, New Trails, Dolkong, and Capezzano.
“Last year I won by five,six, even more lengths, and today Thunder had to fight hard,” said Soumillon. “It was very hard, I was more looking like a Cheltenham jump jockey in the end than an American style jockey but you need to get him going and sometimes you need to do something different.”
Thunder Snow has compiled a record of eight wins, seven seconds and three thirds from his 23 starts, as well as earnings of over $16 million. Plans for the horse include a return to U.S. soil, with possible targets during the Saratoga meeting and another try in the Breeders' Cup Classic.
THUNDER SNOW edges out Gronkowski to become the first horse in history to win the Dubai World Cup for a second time
— Meydan Racing (@MeydanRacing) March 30, 2019
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