Darley sires rule the roost on Dubai World Cup night
Elite winners Benbatl, Jungle Cat and Thunder Snow all Godolphin homebreds
Heading into the prestigious Dubai World Cup night at Meydan on Saturday, one name featured more prominently on the roll of honour for the feature race than any other, with Godolphin having sent out six winners since their first, Dubai Millennium, landed the contest in 2000.
The operation's figurehead Sheikh Mohammed had got the ball rolling when Singspiel took the second running in 1997 in his maroon and white silks, before Street Cry, Moon Ballad, Electrocutionist, Monterosso and African Story all added to Dubai Millennium's success in the Godolphin blue.
Now, Thunder Snow can be added to that illustrious roll call after the son of Helmet - himself one of five active Darley sires to supply a winner on the night - led soon after the gates had opened and never relinquished his lead.
Out of the Dubai Destination mare Eastern Joy, who has also supplied fellow UAE Classic scorers Winter Lightning and Ihtimal, Thunder Snow is the sole Group 1 winner by his sire, having won the Criterium International at two and the Prix Jean Prat at three.
His World Cup heroics completed the final leg of a Group 1 treble for Darley sires on the night - Jungle Cat becoming the first Group 1-winning sprinter and ninth elite winner for his sire Iffraaj when taking out the Al Quoz Sprint, and Benbatl winning for the third time at Meydan this season when running out an easy victor of the Dubai Turf.
Hawkbill also carried the blue of Godolphin when the son of Kitten's Joy recorded a second Group 1 success in the Dubai Sheema Classic.
The other top-tier contest fell the way of Mind Your Biscuits, who defended his crown successfully in the Dubai Golden Shaheen. The next three home in that race were all by stallions active in Japan - Deep Impact responsible for the second and fourth home, while Harbinger supplied the third-placed Deirdre.
Heavy Metal kicked things off for his sire's Darley brethren, when the son of Exceed And Excel powered clear to win the Group 2 Godolphin Mile, before the Aga Khan homebred Vazirabad - a son of Manduro - made history by coming with a sweeping late run to win the Dubai Gold Cup for the third year in a row.
The Coolmore partners were not to be left out and Mendelssohn saw off his rivals by clear daylight to win the UAE Derby, further enhancing his credentials for the Kentucky version on the first Saturday in May.