Thunder Snow became the first dual winner of the G1 Dubai World Cup and posted two excellent performances on dirt at G1 level in the US last year.
Thunder Snow makes his first appearance since a historic second G1 Dubai World Cup victory as he drops down to a mile for the Metropolitan Handicap on dirt at Belmont Park on Saturday.
The five-year-old became the first dual winner of the G1 Dubai World Cup when running on gamely to beat Gronkowski by a nose in a thrilling finish the 10-furlong dirt showpiece on Dubai World Cup night at Meydan, UAE, on March 30.
Thunder Snow captured the $12-million race with a dominant display in 2018 and the Helmet entire has also gained two European G1 victories on turf, including a straightforward success over a mile in the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly, France, in July, 2017.
He posted two excellent performances on dirt, both over 10 furlongs, at G1 level in the USA last year, going down by a neck in the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park in September and taking third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November.
Christophe Soumillon, who has ridden Thunder Snow for the majority of the horse’s career including all four G1 victories, continues his partnership with the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Thunder Snow, drawn four of the nine runners, shares top-weight in the Metropolitan Handicap – colloquially known as the Met Mile – with three-time G1 winner McKinzie and also takes on G1 Churchill Downs Stakes victor Mitole and G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile fourth Firenze Fire.
Saeed Bin Suroor commented: “Thunder Snow worked nicely last week in Newmarket and I have been happy with his preparation.
“He had a good journey over to New York and has settled in well.
“A mile is the shortest distance he has run over for a while, but this race looks a good starting point for his American campaign.
“He is a happy horse at the moment and we are a looking forward to another big effort from him.”
Joining Saeed Bin Suroor’s stable in early 2016, the son of Helmet made his racecourse debut on 31 May 2017 and duly won, readily seeing off 11 rivals over six furlongs at Leicester. A swift step up in class followed and two starts later he added his first Black type when second in the G2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood.
Next time out, Thunder Snow was beaten just a head in the G2 Champagne Stakes, before finishing a creditable fourth in the G1 Dewhurst Stakes.
Lining up in the G1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud later that month, Thunder Snow could not have been more impressive when becoming his first-season sire’s very first winner at the highest level, producing a devastating turn of foot two furlongs out to skip clear of his rivals and win by a full five lengths.
Meanwhile, Five-year-old mare Lady Montdore goes after a second G2 victory on turf in the New York Stakes over a mile and a quarter at Belmont Park on Friday.
The Tom Albertrani-trained daughter of Medaglia d’Oro made most of the running when gaining a decisive win over a furlong further in the G2 Glens Falls Stakes at Saratoga in September. She went on to acquit herself well at G1 level, taking third in the G1 Flower Bowl Stakes over the same course and distance as the New York Stakes in October, and ended last season with a close seventh in the 11-furlong G3 Long Island Stakes at Aqueduct in November.
Lady Montdore makes her second appearance of 2019 after coming home fourth under Kendrick Carmouche, who takes the ride again, in the G2 Sheepshead Bay Stakes over 11 furlongs at Belmont Park on May 4.
Eight runners for the New York Stakes include Homerique and Competitionofideas, who were first and second in the G3 Beaugay Stakes at Belmont Park in May, plus the second and third from the Sheepshead Bay Stakes – Semper Sententiae and Giant Zinger.
Tom Albertrani reported: “Lady Montdore has been training well since the Sheepshead Bay Stakes and we are hoping that she needed her first run off a lay-off.
“We are hoping to see her a little tighter this time around and she should be able to handle the drop back down a furlong.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, attended the Super Saturday at Meydan racecourse, which is the major prep for the Dubai World Cup.
Godolphin’s American-based raider Mystic Guide (USA) proved himself a champion at Meydan on Saturday night when capturing the 2021 $12m Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline.
Secret Ambition (GB) hardly saw another rival when availing of a perfect front-running ride from Tadhg O’Shea in the Group 2 $750,000 Godolphin Mile Sponsored by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City - District One.
Ronaldo took the advantage of the short pause in the Premier League’s matches and came to Dubai for a winter vacation with his family.
Mabkhout and Lima are nursing their injuries while Bandar is serving a ban. However, a returning Tagliabue got a place in the squad but did not feature in the starting line-up.
The event began with a documentary shedding light on the journey of cricket in Pakistan featuring a voice over by PCB Chairman Ramiz Raja. Paragliders also descended from the sky at one point, making a clean landing in the stadium.
Afridi won't be participating in the initial matches of Quetta Gladiators and will likely join the squad for the Lahore leg. Afridi has rejoined the bio-secure bubble of the PSL season seven after he left it due to personal and health issues.