02/11/2017 2:49PM

Thunder Snow roars in UAE 2000 Guineas

Dubai Racing Club / Andrew Watkins
Thunder Snow wins the UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday.

The high-class 3-year-old Thunder Snow easily won his dirt debut Saturday at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, winning the Group 3, $250,000 UAE 2000 Guineas by 5 3/4 lengths for Godolphin, trainer Saeed bin Suroor, and jockey Christophe Soumillon.

Always prominent while racing along the inside in a one-turn race over 1,600 meters (about one mile), Thunder Snow made the front with about 500 meters left, turned back a challenge from Bee Jersey at the top of the homestretch, and crossed the line an easy winner. Bee Jersey held second and was almost four lengths ahead of third-place Capezzano in a spread-out field. Thunder Snow was timed in 1:38.48 over a fast track and paid $3.80 in U.S. wagering.

Thunder Snow, a homebred by Helmet out of Eastern Joy, by Dubai Destination, won two of six starts in a productive 2016 turf campaign in England and France. Fourth behind Churchill in the Group 1 Dewhurst, he closed out his season with a win in the Group 1 Grand Criterium at Saint-Cloud.

“He impressed me when I won on him in France, and that was very testing ground, so I thought he would cope with the dirt here and he has,” Soumillon said.

Thunder Snow never changed leads in the homestretch and did not look especially smooth making his first start on dirt, but he simply outclassed his rivals Saturday.

“He should stay further if connections want to go for the UAE Derby, but he will be a very nice horse back in Europe,” Soumillon said.

Bee Jersey, still a maiden, broke outward at the start from the outside gate, was climbing early, and raced at least four paths wide all the way around the far turn, tiring late in a decent effort.

Earlier on the card, the 5-year-old Dubawi gelding North America crushed seven rivals in the Group 3, $200,000 Firebreak Stakes. North America, ridden by Richard Mullen for Satish Seemar, tracked the early leader and won as he pleased after taking the lead, beating Ennobled Friend by seven lengths. He ran 1,600 meters on fast dirt in 1:36.51.