Thunder Snow returns in UAE 2000 Guineas
G1 winner Thunder Snow, trained by Saeed bin Suroor and partnered again by Christophe Soumillon, switches to dirt for his seasonal return in the 11-runner G3 UAE 2000 Guineas (20.50hrs) over a mile at Meydan, UAE, on Saturday, February 11.
The three-year-old Helmet colt ended 2016 as the top British-based juvenile following a progressive turf campaign that culminated with a five-length victory in the G1 Criterium International over seven furlongs at Saint-Cloud, France, at the end of October.
He is joined by Fly At Dawn and G1 Criterium De Saint Cloud runner-up Best Solution, who were first and fourth respectively in the seven-furlong UAE 2000 Guineas Trial at Meydan on January 26, plus Capezzano, a seven-furlong dirt maiden winner at the course on December 29.
Saeed bin Suroor commented: “This will be Thunder Snow’s first appearance since winning a G1 in France at the end of last season and I have been pleased with his preparation out in Dubai.
“His latest piece of work on Monday went very well. It will be his first run on the dirt, so we will need to see how he copes with it.
“He is improving all of the time and is 85 per cent ready to go on his first start of the year.
“Best Solution was runner-up in a G1 over 10 furlongs last year and I think the seven furlongs of the trial was too sharp for him. This distance will be better for him.”
Charlie Appleby, responsible for Fly At Dawn and Capezzano, reported: “Fly At Dawn goes into the UAE 2000 Guineas with plenty of experience at Meydan following two runs on the dirt there.
“He put up a good performance and picked up well in the trial, while the step back up to a mile is going to suit him.
“The form of the maiden that Capezzano won has worked out well and before that he was runner-up to Cosmo Charlie, who was second in the trial.
“A step up in trip will also suit. He will be one of the least experienced horses in the race but has been progressing nicely and this will hopefully be a stepping stone to going further with him.”
Elsewhere on Saturday’s Dubai World Cup Carnival fixture, Confrontation, with Jim Crowley in the saddle, bids to win the G3 Firebreak Stakes (19.40hrs), also over a mile on dirt, for a second successive year.
The seven-year-old, who has transferred from Kiaran McLaughlin to Saeed bin Suroor, gained a comfortable two-length success 12 months ago and came home sixth on his only subsequent start in the six-furlong G1 Golden Shaheen on Dubai World Cup night.
Saeed bin Suroor said “Confrontation won this race last year and, while he has been doing well at home, I expect him to improve for the run.”
Log Out Island and Steady Pace, both second at G2 level in the UK, line up in the Bab Al Shams Desert Resort And Spa Handicap (20.15hrs) over six furlongs on turf.
Acolyte, a turf handicap winner already at this year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival, makes his dirt debut in the six-furlong the Track Meydan Golf Handicap (19.05hrs), with Comicas also running in the same race.
French Listed winner Bravo Zolo, Turkish G2 second Silent Attack and Tumbaga, who returned from a long absence to finish sixth in a mile dirt handicap on January 26, go on turf in the Zabeel Feedmill Handicap over a mile (21.25hrs).
The four Godolphin runners in the closing The Meydan Hotel Handicap (22.00hrs) over 12 furlongs on turf are Viren’s Army, Kidmenever and Fog Of War plus recent course and distance runner-up Prize Money.