Saeed bin Suroor believes the pace of the race will be a crucial factor in deciding whether Thunder Snow can become the first dual winner of the Dubai World Cup on Saturday.
The five-year-old provided his trainer with a record eighth victory in the Meydan showpiece last season – dominating proceedings from the front in the hands of Belgian superstar jockey Christophe Soumillon.
Thunder Snow rounded off his 2018 campaign by finishing an excellent third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic and while he was a beaten odds-on favourite on his return to action in round three of the Al Maktoum Challenge three weeks ago, Bin Suroor expects his charge to strip much fitter this weekend.
He said: “The horse is doing well. He has improved since his last run, his work has been good and he is jumping and kicking – he is nice and fresh.
“He is a tough horse and I think he has a good chance, but it all depends on how fast they go and the pace of the race.
“Last year he made the running. I don’t think he has to do that, but hopefully he can get a nice position.
“I think it will be a fast-run race.”
Thunder Snow broke from the widest stall of all when successful 12 months ago and once again appears unfavourably placed after being handed gate 12 of 13.
“Last year he was in 10 and this year he in 12. I don’t know why, but I always seem to get a bad draw,” bin Suroor added.
Thunder Snow’s rivals include Satish Seemar’s North America, who disappointed in last year’s World Cup, but is once again well fancied after winning the first two rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge.
Also among the hopefuls are Salem bin Ghadayer’s Capezzano and a clutch of American challengers including Todd Pletcher’s Audible, Dallas Stewart’s Seeking The Soul and the Bill Mott-trained Yoshida.