'Brilliant' Thunder Snow's Dubai World Cup double applauded by UAE racing community
The Godolphin horse is the first to win the big race at Meydan twice
Thunder Snow's "remarkable" achievement in becoming the first horse to win the Dubai World Cup twice has been celebrated by the UAE racing fraternity.
The five-year-old came out on top in a thrilling finish to Saturday's $12 million (Dh44m) race to defeat Gronkowski and follow up his 2018 success at Meydan.
Ernest Oertel, the two-time UAE champion trainer, who is also leading the 2018-19 standings, said it was a superb display from the Godolphin horse.
“It’s a brilliant performance for any horse to come back and win the Dubai World Cup for the second time,” said the South African trainer, who celebrated his first success at the showpiece Meydan event when AF Maher won the Dubai Kahayla Classic for Purebred Arabians in the opening race on Saturday.
Oertel believes that trainer Saeed bin Suroor had managed Thunder Snow's schedule and build-up to the race perfectly.
“It wasn’t like he was racing the whole season," he said. "He raced in America and Europe, and it was a brilliant training performance by Saeed. He’s obviously a very good horse and in the hands of a good trainer.”
Godolphin are yet to make public what will be next for their winning charge, but Oertel believes that having already written his place in the history books of the Dubai World Cup that an early retirement at the peak of his powers could be an option.
“To be honest, he has done everything he needs to do," he said. "It means he’s a top horse. He’s now won the cup twice and he’s the king. He can’t do anymore.
“Of course the connections will know him better because he seems to be getting better with age. But if he was mine, I would think of retiring him on the top.”
Pat Buckley, racing manager of Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club and a former winner of the Grand National steeplechase, pointed out the horse showed true character and complimented jockey Christophe Soumillon's management of the race.
Unlike in 2018 when he dominated and was an emphatic victor, this time Thunder Snow came from behind to pass early leader North America and then eventually overcome Gronkowski.
“This horse was prepared with the objective of winning the Dubai World Cup for the second time, which no horse had done it before," he said. "To achieve this objective is a remarkable training accomplishment.
“At one point of the race I thought he wouldn’t make it but he did it, and that’s an excellent performance from the horse and jockey.
“The whole team must be congratulated for this achievement, especially when you set a goal and achieve it in horse racing.”
Updated: March 31, 2019 02:46 PM