Dubai: Godolphin’s global aspirations met with a resounding victory by Japanese-trained Fine Needle at Nakayama, Japan and a battling second place finish by Dubai World Cup hero Thunder Snow at Belmont Parl, USA this weekend.
Trained by Yoshitada Takahashi for Godolphin’s Japanese operation, Fine Needle captured the Group 1 Sprinters Stakes. Ridden by Yuga Kawada, the five-year-old son of Admire Moon came with a strong run in the rattling run close to home to score by a neck from Kampf.
Earlier on Saturday, Thunder Snow, trained by decorated Emirati handler Saeed Bin Surour, was shaping the winner in the Group 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup only to be run down by unfancied Discreet Lover who came from out of nowhere to get up and win by a neck.
Both Fine Needle and Thunder Snow have earned positive nominations for the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships at Churchill Downs, USA on November 2-3.
Fine Needle is likely to take his chance in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1) while Thunder Snow will line up in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.
Elaborating on the plans for Fine Needle, Harry Sweeney, president of Godolphin in Japan, said on the stable’s website: “We are extremely pleased with this very exciting victory.
“Fine Needle had the best form coming into the race, but with the ground turning soft there was always the chance of a surprise result since Japanese racing generally takes place on good to firm ground.
“He has won on soft before and is very consistent — he has now won two Group 1s, a Group 2 and a Group 3 this year,” he added.
“There are no more G1 sprints in Japan until March next year so he will have to race overseas. The options are the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1, 5f 110y, Churchill Downs, USA, November 3) or the Hong Kong Sprint (G1, 6f, Sha Tin, December 9).
“We will see how Fine Needle comes out this race before making a decision.”
Meanwhile, Bin Surour, who will be a seeking a maiden victory in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, widely regarded as the premier thoroughbred horse race of the year in the US said: “I was surprised at the winner.”
“He has run a huge race — I am very happy with the performance.
“He needed it and we will now go for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1, 10f, dirt, Churchill Downs, November 3).”