Thunder Snow Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Globetrotting Godolphin handler Saeed Bin Surour gave his back-to-back Dubai World Cup (G1) winner Thunder Snow a big thumbs up after the five-year-old son of Hement finished a creditable third in the $1.2 million Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park, USA on Saturday.

With multiple French champion and regular partner Christophe Soumillon on board for the 18th time, Thunder Snow finished close third behind the impressive winner, Mitolem fast-finishing runner-up McKenzine. The margins being ¾ length and a neck in a fast run 1600m contest.

“Thunder Snow ran a huge race and I am very pleased with him,” Bin Surour, who had travelled to Belmont from his summer headquarters in Newmarket, England for the race said.

“We will bring him back to England and prepare him to race in America again, with his target being the G1 Whitney Stakes at Saratoga (1m 1f, August 3).”

Shortly after Thunder Snow made history when he became the first horse to complete the UAE Derby (G2) — Dubai World Cup double, Bin Surour committed him to an ambitious campaign in America where the final target is the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita, a race in which Thunder Snow had finished third last season.

“I always said that he would need the race and the Mile was the best place to start him,” said Bin Surour. “There are not too many races for a horse of his calibre but we have a programme mapped out for him with the Jockey Club Gold Cup (1m 1f) September 28, also on his schedule.”

Scheduled to be run at Oval Belmont Park track, the race is part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series — which gives the winner a direct entry to the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita in November. The Met Mile is the co-feature on Belmont Stakes day, a race that was won by Sir Winston for trainer Mark Casse.

In 23 lifetime starts and four seasons of racing with Bin Surour, the Godolphin homebred Thunder Snow has successfully won a Group 1 every season in addition to be placed in seven other starts. He has proved himself to be a very versatile horse scoring both on turf and dirt. He is as hard as they come and has competed in five countries where he was earned Group 1s in four of them.

He is also one of the world’s highest earning horses with earning in excess of $16 million. Beside his back-to-back wins in the $12 million Dubai World Cup, Thunder Snow has landed the Group 1 Criterium International and Group 1 Prix Jean Prat in France.