Dubai: For the fourth consecutive season, trainer Doug Watson was the dominant force at Meydan racecourse as his runners continued to thrive on the dirt track - which by 2018 had matured into a high-class racing surface.
Armed with heavy ammunition in the form of top campaigners like Drafted, Kimbear, Rayya, Moosir and Galvanize, Watson raked up 28 winners at Meydan which would help him clinch a career-sixth UAE trainer’s title with 48 overall winners.
Godolphin handlers Charlie Appleby, who operates out of the Marmoon Stables and Saeed Bin Surour, who is based at the stable’s Dubai headquarters in Al Quoz, had their fair of success during the Dubai World Cup Carnival where Bin Surour would win the $12million Dubai World Cup for the eighth time with Thunder Snow.
After Satish Seemar’s big hope North America blew his chances with a poor break from the stalls, Thunder Snow ran a solid race for multiple French champion jockey Christophe Soumillon, duelled with the American favourite West Coast and kicked for home at the top of the straight.
The result was never in doubt and the 2017 UAE Derby winner won his coming-of-age race by 5 ¾ lengths in a in a track-record time of 2:01.38.
The Bob Baffert-trained West Coast battled bravely to edge stablemate Mubtaahij by a neck for second while two other American contenders, Pavel and Forever Unbridled, failed to make an impression.
Hall of Fame trainer Baffert gave credit where it was due and said after the race: My horses ran well (but) that Thunder Snow - he ran huge, that horse.”
Bin Surour attributed Thunder Snow’s victory to jockey Christophe Soumillon.
“The winner is the jockey,” Bin Surour said. “He made the horse win the race. He is the best of the best.”
Lensmen from around the world captured a priceless photograph of a wide-eyed Bin Surour shaking hands with Soumillon affectionately as he led Thunder Snow back into the winner’s enclosure.
During the 2017-2018 UAE racing season, Al Asayl’s Eric Lemartinel, Zabeel’s Satish Seemar, Desert 1 Stables boss Ernst Oertel and Helal Al Alawai from The National Stables enjoyed their fair share of successes with pver 30 winners each.