The Dubai Conundrum

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

March 29th, 2017

I will start by saying the current state of the three-year-old crop is far from the best I have seen this close to the Kentucky Derby, with a little more than five weeks remaining until the Run for the Roses. The prep races to this point have clouded the picture and setbacks to top contenders Classic Empire and McCracken have done little to make the scene any clearer.

I have said this a few times in recent history but seriously think it applies to 2017: Will this be the year a runner from abroad makes good in the first jewel of the Triple Crown?

Admittedly, I thought Daddy Long Legs was a major player in 2012 and expressed the same sentiments about Mubtaahij in 2015 after their fine tallies in the UAE Derby (G2). Neither ran well at Churchill Downs.

This brings us to the current day and the streaking Thunder Snow, who was a game winner Saturday posting the fastest final time in the race since it moved to Meydan.

Trained by Saeed bin Suroor for Godolphin, Thunder Snow has a pedigree that screams turf top and bottom. But he’s shown excellent versatility and given 2017 is no ordinary year, the Kentucky Derby could be ripe for the taking.

The son of Helmet has now won a trio of races in succession, with a runaway tally in the grassy Gran Criterium (Fr-G1) in his juvenile finale and his two scores at Meydan to open his sophomore campaign. There is no doubting his class in my view.

Thunder Snow proved ultra-game wearing down Japanese invader Epicharis in the mud despite running greenly in the UAE Derby and has passed both of his dirt assignments this year with aplomb. He also possesses tactical speed which is an important trait for horses shipping over for American dirt races.

So I am once again stuck pondering the same question: Will this be the year?

(Thunder Snow photo courtesy of Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club)