Thunder Snow, Heavy Metal Square Off In Al Maktoum Challenge – Round 2

Thursday’s fifth meeting of the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival at Meydan Racecourse is a quality one with three feature races on dirt, as well as the Meydan Classic Trial on the turf. The official feature is the 1900m Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 sponsored by Gulf News, a race Saeed bin Suroor has won no less than ten times, including in 2003 with subsequent Dubai World Cup (G1) hero Moon Ballad.

Some of the horses that have succeeded in this contest have gone on to win the Dubai World Cup, as well. Saeed bin Suroor’s 2014 Al Maktoum R2 winner Prince Bishop, was second in the 2015 renewal before landing that year’s World Cup. Stablemate African Story, who chased him home in 2014, then won the World Cup eight weeks later from Prince Bishop.

This year Suroor relies on Thunder Snow (Christophe Soumillon rides, post-position 8), a G1 winner as a juvenile and last year as a three-year-old in Europe. He also landed both the UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) and UAE Derby (G2) in 2017. The 4-year-old was second in the 1600m Al Maktoum Challenge R1 on his seasonal reappearance and his trainer expects the return to 1900m, the course and distance of his UAE Derby victory, to suit him.

“Thunder Snow has been doing well since his return in the first round and the step up in trip will suit,” bin Suroor said. “He is in good form, has been working well and is ready to go. We have a good record in this race and have won it with some very good horses.”

In that Al Maktoum Challenge R1 four weeks ago, he chased home Heavy Metal (Mickael Barzalona, post 6), trained by Salem bin Ghadayer and never headed on that. It was a sixth Meydan dirt victory for the horse, all bar one over that 1600m. He is stepping up to 1900m for the first time locally on Thursday. The 8-year-old did try 2000m on turf, albeit unsuccessfully, on two occasions in England back in May 2014.

“Obviously, he loves it at Meydan on the dirt surface and he has continued to work very well since his last win,” bin Ghadayer said. “This is a different test, over further, but we could not be happier with the horse at home.”

The post Thunder Snow, Heavy Metal Square Off In Al Maktoum Challenge – Round 2 appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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