Thunder Snow delivers for Godolphin
By Will Hayler
Last Updated: 30/10/16 5:01pm
Thunder Snow gained a well-deserved Group One success with a dominant performance in the Criterium International at Saint-Cloud.
The Saeed bin Suroor-trained colt had some top-notch form in the book after being beaten only two lengths when fourth to Churchill in the Dewhurst Stakes and a head second to subsequent Racing Post Trophy scorer Rivet in the Champagne Stakes.
The Godolphin-owned juvenile backed up those displays in style, bounding clear in the final quarter-mile under Christophe Soumillon to see off Andrew Balding's South Seas by five lengths, with the Aidan O'Brien-trained Promise To Be True a length and three-quarters away in third.
There was drama early in the race when Capchop unseated Pierre-Charles Boudot leaving the stalls, but the contest itself could not have been more straightforward for the winner, who was helped by a frantic early pace set by freegoing stablemate Bay Of Poets.
The winner returned at 2.8/1 on the local pari-mutuel and 3/1 with British bookmakers. A stewards' inquiry was held into Capchop's departure from the race, but the placings were left unchanged.
Representative Lisa-Jane Graffard told the Godolphin website: "Christophe was never worried. He reported that Thunder Snow travelled well all the way and handled the ground.
"It was a very pleasing performance and Saeed bin Suroor, who is in Australia, will be happy. Thunder Snow will be able get a mile next year so it is all very exciting."
Soumillon added: "Thunder Snow, who looked very well, was calm and super relaxed. I think he will be even better over a mile and further."
It looked like a Group One double for connections might be on the cards when Soumillon booted Best Solution two lengths clear two furlongs out in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud over a mile and a quarter an hour later.
However, the Future Champions Day winner didn't appear to get home in the testing conditions and instead it was Waldgeist for Andre Fabre, a German-bred son of Galileo running in the red and green Gestut Ammerland colours of Arc winner Hurricane Run.
Boudot, bouncing back from his earlier fall, wisely angled his mount towards the near-side rail in the home straight after seeing Thunder Snow career home down the same strip, and saw the move pay off as his mount ate up the ground to win going away by a length.
The winner, one of only two French-trained runners in a 13-strong field, was returned at just 3.7/1 on the pari-mutuel, but 10/1 with British bookmakers.
Fabre, whose sole Epsom success came with Pour Moi in 2011, said: "I was fond of him before and I'm even fonder of him now. He is not short of pace, but the longer distance didn't do him any harm.
"He is obviously a Derby type. I can see him performing well at the Curragh (in the Irish Derby), but he will be prepared for the Epsom Derby as well."
The O'Brien-trained Capri, the 10/11 favourite, was half a length away in third without being able to land a serious blow up the centre of the track.
Waldgeist was installed at 16/1 in the betting for next year's Investec Derby by Sky Bet, with Capri 20/1 after another solid run.
Spokesman Michael Shinners said: "Word before the race suggested that Andre Fabre thought a fair bit of Waldgeist and this was a decent performance from the winner."
The other Group-race action on the Saint-Cloud card, the Group Three Prix Perth, went to the consistent Freddy Head-trained filly Siyoushake, fourth in the Sun Chariot on her previous start. John Gosden's Crazy Horse held on for second place in a photo finish.