Thunder strikes to give family another taste of Classic success
UAE 2,000 Guineas hero is related to Balanchine and West Wind
Thunder Snow, a Group 1-winning two-year-old from the first crop of Helmet, looks to have thrived over the winter as he ran out an easy winner of the Group 3 UAE 2,000 Guineas on his three-year-old bow at Meydan on Saturday.
Bred by Darley, the colt becomes the second Dubai Classic winner out of the winning Dubai Destination mare Eastern Joy, as his half-sister Ihtimal was a winner of the UAE Oaks before she finished third in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Another half-sister, First Victory, won the Group 3 Oh So Sharp Stakes in 2015, while Always Smile was placed in both the Falmouth Stakes and the Sun Chariot Stakes.
Eastern Joy also has a two-year-old filly by Shamardal, was barren to the same sire after being covered by him in 2015, and went to Dubawi last year.
Classic success runs in the family as Eastern Joy is a half-sister to Prix de Diane winner West Wind, while her granddam produced Balanchine, winner of both the Oaks and the Irish Derby.
Trained by Saeed Bin Suroor, Thunder Snow won a 6f maiden on his first start at two and was also second in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood and Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.
His most notable success was landing the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud last October, winning eased down by five lengths. He earned an Racing Post Rating of 119 for that performance.
He is the best runner by Helmet, who has also supplied Group 3 winner Archives in Australia and the Group 3-placed pair Mur Hiba and Eqtiraan in Europe.
Helmet stands this season at Dalham Hall Stud at a fee of £10,000.