Three-year-old filly Winter Lightning continued her impressive start to the 2018 Dubai World Cup Carnival with an excellent victory in the Listed UAE 1,000 Guineas over a mile on dirt at Meydan, UAE, on Thursday, 8 February.
The daughter of Shamardal, a half-sister to Thunder Snow and representing trainer Saeed bin Suroor, broke smartly and disputed the early running before being covered up a close fourth of the eight runners by Pat Cosgrave.
Winter Lightning moved up powerfully to go second leaving the back straight and challenged the front-running Rayya a furlong and a half out and soon led, quickening well to triumph by an easy two lengths in 1m 38.19s.
Rayya finished second with Expressiy (Charlie Appleby/William Buick) staying on to come home third, a further two and a half lengths back, as the first three from the UAE 1,000 Guineas Trial over seven furlongs on 18 January filled the same positions in the UAE 1,000 Guineas.
Saeed bin Suroor, gaining his 10th victory in the UAE 1,000 Guineas, commented: “Winter Lightning looked like she needed further when she won the trial. She has always shown some class, but it can be hard to judge them until they run on dirt.
“She is a half-sister to Thunder Snow and both horses can do well on both turf and dirt. Thunder Snow won two G1 races on turf in France and was also successful on dirt in the UAE 2,000 Guineas and the UAE Derby.
“We kept Winter Lightning until the end of last season to run her at Newmarket because she was weak and we ran her just to make her learn how to race.
“The family has always done well in the past and Winter Lightning is a strong filly. She looks better physically compared to last year and the way she finished her race today shows that she can stay further in the future.
“We will aim her at the UAE Oaks (G3, 9.5f, Meydan, Thursday, 1 March) and plans from there will depend on how she gets on in that race. We will talk to Sheikh Mohammed about further plans but we will keep the options open regarding the UAE Derby (G2 9.5f, Meydan, Saturday, 31 March).
“Winter Lightning is a filly for the future. She is a big, strong filly who can show something this year and during her four-year-old campaign. We can keep her in training for the future because she didn’t do much as a two-year-old.
“She always shows her class and we need to think about the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket (G1, 1m, Sunday, 6 May, turf). We will see how she gets on in the UAE Oaks first.”
Pat Cosgrave added: “Winter Lightning has got pretty much everything. She has a good temperament - she relaxes, jumps and travels nicely without over racing - and handles the surface well.
“She picked up nicely and put the race to bed when I asked her to. I thought that she had improved from her last run, she looked more of a sharper, grown-up filly, and I think she will get better again.
“It was her first time under the lights and on the surface in the trial – she was getting a little bit of kickback in behind, which she had never experienced before. She expected it more today and is just a very good filly.
“I think she is going to keep progressing onwards and I don’t see any reason why she wouldn’t stay the UAE Oaks trip. She relaxed nicely and ran to the line good.”