Horse racing was the winner
Jockey Christophe Soumillon celebrates Thunder Snow's second Dubai World Cup win in a row at the Meydan Racecourse on Saturday.
Dubai - Thunder Snow has nothing left to prove to anyone.
Moments before he did the 'Flying Dismount,' made famous by former Godolphin jockey Frankie Dettori, Christophe Soumillon revealed about a pact he had with Saeed bin Suroor, the ace trainer, just before the race.
"The thing is, I promised to Saeed that I will just have the trophy and he will have the money so I'll have to come back next year!," said Soumillon.
Nothing is set in stone just yet about what the future holds for Thunder Snow with Suroor saying a decision will be made once the dust settles down on the 24th running of the Dubai World Cup.
The 53-year-old Emirati said that he will have a word with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on whether to chart out runs in the US, probably in New York, Saratoga and another shot at the Breeders' Cup Classic in Santa Anita after finishing third last year.
Another tilt at the world's richest race, however unlikely, is still 12 months away, but if the five-year-old son of Helmet does return to the Meydan Racecourse, it will amount to something really incredible.
Even if he doesn't come back for a landmark 25th renewal, even though his connections Godolphin may be tempted to, Thunder Snow's name in the higher echelons of horse racing will remain undiminished.
Thunder Snow has nothing left to prove to anyone.
Twenty-three runs at home and across the world, Thunder Snow has eight wins. But quite undoubtedly, the last two would be the most special.
At the majestic and magnificent Meydan Racecourse on Saturday night and watched by the UAE royalty as well as other top dignitaries, Thunder Snow strode into history.
He did what no horse had done until then, win the Dubai World Cup twice, and in successive years. It went on to prove that Thunder Snow well and truly belongs among the world's elite.
But making history wasn't easy. Unlike last year where Thunder Snow won comfortably over Bob Baffert's West Coast, Suroor's charge had to really work hard for it.
He did admirably well to break out of his wide gate in a jiffy even as the speed horses North America and Capezzano
were off in a flash.
As those two made the early running, Thunder Snow settled in nicely behind the two. The race called for some astute tactics and Soumillon timed it to perfection. As they took the bend and rumbled down for home, North America and Capezzano, much earlier, couldn't keep up.
But Thunder Snow still faced a threat from an unlikely contender in Gronkowski and the pair went for broke in the final few furlongs. And it took the smallest of margins of a nose to decide who would be proudly called the Dubai World Champion.
Suroor, who notched his 191st Group 1 winner and perhaps the most memorable of them all, was a busy man afterwards, with everyone wanting a piece of him.
The heady taste of success means Soumillon would love to have another crack at it following that pact with Suroor. And if it does happens with Thunder Snow, third time will be a charm.
Apart from the big prize, it was an unforgettable night for Dubai and the UAE with Godolphin racking up three other winners on the night.
British trainer Charlie Appleby had a hand in them all with Melbourne Cup winner Cross Counter a class apart in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup. King's Stand Stakes champion Blue Point was next, landing the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint, after which Old Persian clinched the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic. All three were the mounts of William Buick.
It was a fine afternoon for the UAE-bred Purebred Arabians with AF Maher ridden to a fantastic victory by UAE Champion Jockey Tadhg O'Shea for trainer Ernst Oertel.
Puerto Rican jockey Jose Ortiz had a double on the night with Coal Front in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile for Todd Pletcher and Plus Que Parfait in the Group 2 UAE Derby for former Godolphin work rider-turned trainer Brendan Walsh.
XY Jet was finally third time lucky, winning the Group 1 Dubai Golden DShaheen, while the stunning filly Almond Eye floored one and all in the Group 1 Dubai Turf.
It was another great night and as Sheikh Mohammed had said, horse racing was the winner.