The 2018 Dubai World Cup was heavily advertised – especially by me – as a coronation of sorts. This race was all about West Coast, who went off as the 4/5 favorite was in it until the end. But Thunder Snow stole the show with a valiant, wire-to-wire victory that has more than doubled his career earnings.
A poor break by North America, who was expected to push the pace, helped Thunder Snow sneak out in front and lull the race in to slow fractions of :25.73, :50.43, and 1:13.89. It was an absurdly packed field, with West Coast holding steady in second place and the remainder of the threats trying to get out in front. By the time the homestretch arrived, Thunder Snow had plenty of gas left and threw down the gauntlet to win the 2018 Dubai World Cup in emphatic and decisive fashion.
It was a stunning finish, and one that West Coast would have won if the early goings of the race had ramped up the rate a bit. “My horses ran well,” Baffert said of both West Coast and Mubtaahij who finished 2nd and 3rd . “That Thunder Snow—he ran huge, that horse.”
2017 Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner Forever Unbridled trailed all the way to 5th with Awardee, Furia Cruazada, Gunnevera, Talismanic and North America rounding out the remainder of the order.
Winning trainer Saeed Bin Suroor praised jockey Christophe Soumillon for his work on the track. “The winner is the jockey,” bin Suroor elaborated. “He made the horse win the race. We drew the 10th post but before the race I talked to him and said, ‘He can be handy, but if he jumps, you can take the lead early, and you’ll have a better chance to win the race.’ He is the best of the best.”
Soumillon himself noted that a promising start helped Thunder Snow take control.
“In a race, you can’t really predict anything,” Soumillon added. “It just depends how 10 horses jump at the same time,” noted the jockey. “Hewas a half-length in front of everyone, and I knew I had to make an effort to hit the front and stay on the fence. When I saw nobody pushing on the inside, I was really surprised and quite happy, because I knew I probably earned a few lengths there.”
In 18 starts, the four-year-old Thunder Snow is a 7-5-2 and now earned $8,381,476.
Bin Suroor was pressed by the media as to what the next destination for Thunder Snow may be. The trainer said that he had his focused dialled in, “to win the World Cup. Now we won the race, so we’ll give him a break and keep the options open for European racing, or maybe we’ll take him to America.” Right now, the plan is to have the colt rest and recover, but Bin Suroor hinted that the 2018 Breeders’ Cup may be a potential destination. “We’ll try to find a race for him in America.”