Dual Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow has been pleasing trainer Saeed bin Suroor ahead of the Metropolitan Handicap at Belmont Park on Saturday.
The five-year-old entire has won over £12 million in prize-money in his career and is a regular visitor to America, bouncing back from an unhappy experience in the 2017 Kentucky Derby to go close when third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last year.
“He travelled well to New York so all is good so far,” said Bin Suroor.
“He did his last piece of work on Friday on the Limekilns (in Newmarket) under Kieren Fallon and he was very happy with him – he looks good and is ready to go.
“The trip is a little short for him, it’s only a mile and he’s better over 10 furlongs, but it is hard to find races for him and he has to run.
“After this we’ll keep his options open, but there is a race at Saratoga for him then maybe the Jockey Club in New York before ending the season in the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.”
He added: “He has a chance, I’m happy with him, he’s in good form. He always handles the travelling really good and Christophe Soumillon is going over to ride him again.
“American racing suits him, but the trip is a little short this week. The jockey knows him well, though, and will jump and kick so he can hopefully get a nice position early.”
Among the opposition to Thunder Snow in the ‘Met Mile’ is the Bob Baffert-trained McKinzie, who was favourite for the Breeders’ Cup Classic only to finish 12th of the 14 starters.
He has bounced back to score at Grade One level and was last seen winning the Alysheba Stakes over an extended mile at Churchill Downs.
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A sparkling piece of work by Trekking ahead of Saturday’s G1 Stradbroke Handicap has the colt in ideal order for an Eagle Farm feature in which he is one of four realistic Godolphin chances.
Trainer James Cummings will saddle the quartet that is completed by Encryption, Home Of The Brave, and Viridine and says he will have trouble placing any one of his runners one ahead of the others.
Trekking comes to the penultimate G1 race of the Australian season off a close third in the Kingsford-Smith Cup over 1,300m at the same track two weeks ago and a strong gallop at Eagle Farm on Tuesday.
“I thought he let down beautifully in his gallop and we got just what we wanted out of it,” Cummings said.
“He was only just building his confidence on the going here at his last start, so I thought it was really important for Trekking this morning to work again on that different grass they have at Eagle Farm so he could get a feel for it.”
For Encryption (Craig Williams), the Stradbroke will be his final start before beginning a stud career for which his pedigree is a glowing recommendation – but a G1 victory would add greatly to his stallion credentials.
“He’s in good shape, he’s fit, he’s got that run in the Kingsford-Smith Cup under his belt and I think he’ll be a lot better horse this week,” Cummings said.
The trainer also believes the handicap conditions will suit Encryption, a son of Lonhro from the exceptional race mare Guelph.
“The biggest run of his life was under handicap conditions in the Oakleigh Plate earlier this autumn, so he looks well suited,” he said.
Godolphin’s Persian King ran well to finish second in another French Classic, the G1 Prix du Jockey Club, over an extended 10 furlongs at Chantilly on Sunday.
The three-year-old Kingman colt raced a bit freely after emerging from an outside stall (14) among the 15 runners and was held up by Pierre-Charles Boudot in mid-division as a good pace was set up front.
The Andre Fabre-trained Persian King made smooth progress after turning into the straight to go second two furlongs out.
He ran on well and led after another half-furlong, but was headed by the winner Sottsass inside the final furlong.
Persian King kept on to the line, going down by two lengths, and finished two lengths ahead of the third Motamarris, with the rest of the runners spread out. The winning time of 2m 2.90s, a new course record, came on ground officially described as good.
The other Godolphin runner, Roman Candle, with Mickael Barzalona up, raced towards the rear on the inside, but stayed on to be fifth, another three and a quarter lengths behind Persian King.
Lisa-Jane Graffard of Godolphin said: “Persian King ran a super race and was beaten by a colt with a better turn of foot.
“It is a hot afternoon and Persian King raced on the wide outside. Pierre-Charles thought Persian King saw out the trip, running on well to the line.
“So it was probably not a lack of stamina which led to defeat, but given Persian King’s wonderful record over shorter distances, it is not inconceivable that he will return to a mile.
“Andre will make that decision after seeing how Persian King comes out this race.
“Roman Candle ran very well. He was a bit caught for speed, but then ran on in the closing stages.
“His next race could be the Grand Prix de Paris (July 14, Longchamp).”