Thunder Snow, the first (and so far, only) horse ever to win back-to-back Dubai World Cups and a G1 winner at two, three, four and five, has been retired from racing and will stand at Darley in Japan next year.
Trained by Saeed bin Suroor throughout his career, Thunder Snow made his racecourse debut in the May of his two-year-old season and won easily. He added his first Black Type to his record when second in the G2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, 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, producing a devastating turn of foot two furlongs out to skip clear of his rivals and win by a full five lengths. This win was enough to see him rated the best two-year-old colt in France that year.
Thunder Snow returned at three in the UAE 2,000 Guineas and soon answered any doubts as to whether he could replicate his form on the dirt as he romped to a five-and-three-quarter-length victory at Meydan. He then added a fast-finishing win in the G2 UAE Derby.
Later that year, Thunder Snow posted one of the most brilliant performances of his career with a dominant win in the G1 Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly.
Returning at four, Thunder Snow won the G2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2 at Meydan, before utterly dominating in the Dubai World Cup. Dictating from the front throughout, he eventually won Dubai’s showpiece by almost six lengths. That year he was also placed in the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
In 2019, Thunder Snow made history when becoming the first horse ever to win the Dubai World Cup twice, prevailing in a thrilling finish over Gronkowski, with the pair well clear of the rest of the field.
His trainer Saeed bin Suroor said, “Thunder Snow created history by winning the Dubai World Cup twice and provided us with two brilliant results in France, capturing the Criterium International and the Prix Jean Prat. He ran great races on dirt and turf at some of the world’s top meetings and was a superstar for us.
“He was a class horse, who was very professional and easy to train. He was extremely tough and always tried his hardest in everything he did. He was one of the best horses to ever race for Godolphin and it was a privilege to train him.
“We will all miss him at Godolphin Stables but he retires at the top and we can look forward to seeing his progeny. I am sure that he will become a top stallion over the coming years.”
A homebred for Sheikh Mohammed, Thunder Snow is by Helmet, himself a son of leading sire Exceed And Excel. It has been an excellent year for grandsons and daughters of one of Australia’s best-ever stallions, who have been responsible for the winners of the Epsom Derby, Golden Slipper, July Cup, New Zealand Derby and Futurity Stakes.
He is out of the superb broodmare Eastern Joy, also dam of G1 performer Ihtimal (Shamardal) and Group winners Always Smile (Cape Cross) and First Victory (Teofilo). This is the same family as the great racemare (and Godolphin’s first ever Classic winner) Balanchine.
Harry Sweeney, President of Darley Japan said, “We are enormously excited for many reasons that Thunder Snow is coming to Japan. In Japan, entry into the classics is largely based on racetrack earnings and Thunder Snow being a Group 1 winner on turf as a two-year-old will impress breeders. Furthermore, he was very consistent and won a G1 at two, three, four and five, another trait valued in Japan. And in the JRA, 50% of races are actually on dirt so Thunder Snow’s prowess on that surface in addition to turf is another great advantage. He ticks many boxes indeed.”
For further information, please contact the Darley Japan Nominations team on +81 (0)1456 3 1166.