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Road to the Breeders' Cup Classic starts in the Met Mile for Thunder Snow

Thunder Snow defeats Gronkowski in the Dubai World Cup in March
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9.46 Belmont Park
Runhappy Metropolitan Handicap (Grade 1) | 1m | 3yo+ | dirt | SSR

Thunder Snow earned himself a place in the history books when becoming the only horse to win two runnings of the Dubai World Cup in March, a performance his trainer Saeed Bin Suroor said he would treasure alongside that of Godolphin legend Dubai Millennium in the same race.

What Thunder Snow would mean to Bin Suroor, and Sheikh Mohammed, if he was to be their first winner of the Breeders’ Cup Classic cannot be overstated and the five-year-old starts on his journey to Santa Anita in the Met Mile in New York on Saturday.

Christophe Soumillon will ride Thunder Snow, who drops to a mile for the first time since January last year, and Bin Suroor said: "Thunder Snow worked nicely last week in Newmarket and I've been happy with his preparation. He had a good journey over to New York and has settled in well.

"A mile is the shortest distance he has run over for a while, but this race looks a good starting point for his American campaign. He's a happy horse at the moment and we're looking forward to another big effort from him."

Among those trying to stop Thunder Snow are McKinzie, beaten favourite in last year's Classic, and Mitole, who steps up in trip after winning the Grade 1 Churchill Downs Stakes over 7f.

Also on Saturday

Jaipur Invitational (Grade 1) | 6f | 4yo+ | turf

World Of Trouble (Jason Servis/Manuel Franco) looks the one to beat in this contest after posting two dominant wins this spring in the Grade 1 Carter Handicap and the Grade 2 Turf Sprint Stakes.

Undrafted: former Royal Ascot winner in action at Belmont

Undrafted, winner of the 2015 Diamond Jubilee Stakes, and Belvoir Bay, second to Blue Point in the Al Quoz Sprint, feature among his eight opponents.

Manhattan Stakes (Grade 1) | 1m2f | 4yo+ | turf

Following the disappointment of Newspaperofrecord's defeat at Belmont on Thursday, owner Seth Klarman will be hoping Bricks And Mortar can give him something to cheer about.

The five-year-old landed the Grade 1 Turf Classic last time and is one of four runners for trainer Chad Brown, whose other contenders include Arlington Million winner Robert Bruce.

Midnight Bisou: a leading contender at Belmont

Ogden Phipps Stakes (Grade 1) | 1m½f | 4yo+ | f&m | dirt

The progressive Come Dancing and serial winner Midnight Bisou appear to have this race between them on recent form.

Midnight Bisou has bounced back from her defeat in the Breeders' Cup Distaff by winning three times, including the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Handicap, while Come Dancing, who receives 6lb from Midnight Bisou, recorded a career-best effort when winning last time.

Acorn Stakes (Grade 1) | 1m | 3yo fillies | dirt

Kentucky Oaks winner Serengeti Empress gives weight to all of her rivals on her return to the track. Her chief opponent could well be Guarana, a 15-length winner of a maiden on her recent debut.

Rushing Fall: on a roll after two Grade 1 victories

Just A Games Stakes (Grade 1) | 1m | 4yo+ | f&m | turf

Rushing Fall seeks a Grade 1 hat-trick for turf maestro Chad Brown after successes in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup and Jenny Wiley Stakes.

Capla Temptress, a Grade 1 winner for Marco Botti now in the care of Bill Mott, is in opposition but the outsider of the field.

Woody Stephens Stakes (Grade 1) | 7f | 3yo | dirt

Grade 1 winner Complexity is back in action for the first time since blowing out when fancied for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile last year.

He takes on Mind Control, who has been revitalised since dropping back to sprinting this year. 

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Thunder Snow worked nicely last week in Newmarket and I have been happy with his preparation
E.W. Terms