Thunder Snow, a horse owned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid’s Godolphin stable, has become the first horse to win the Dubai World Cup twice.

A late surge saw the 2018 champion win once again, edging out Gronkowski in a photo finish, with the two horses pulling away from the rest of the field in the home straight.

Belgian jockey Christophe Soumillon rode Thunder Snow as he had in last year’s event, while the back-to-back victories extended trainer Saeed bin Suroor his ninth win in the race.

“The Dubai World Cup has been extremely kind to me and to have the pleasure of training a horse like Thunder Snow is something that’s hard to describe,” Bin Suroor said.

“I have always dreamed that he could win one World Cup, but to become the first horse to win two is something I am finding hard to believe.”

Thunder Snow was drawn the second widest of the 12 horses, and Soumillon said: Last year, I won by five or six lengths, but Thunder Snow had to fight hard today.”

The five-year-old horse’s victory by a nose marked the narrowest win at the Dubai World Cup since 2010.

“Thunder Snow showed what an iron horse he is today,” Soumillon added. “He has travelled all around the world, going to so many different places, and is impressive in what he is doing all the time. He never gives up and you always have to believe in him.

“On a day like today, giving so much effort and with that draw, to keep fighting the whole way is something amazing.”

Godolphin, the stable owned by Sheikh Mohammed, also won three of the other eight races held on Saturday at Meydan Racecourse.

Cross Counter ended Vazirabad’s run of three consecutive wins in the Dubai Gold Cup, while Old Persian took the prize in the Dubai Sheema Classic and Blue Point won the Al Quoz Sprint.

The total prize money for all the races, which make up the world’s richest day of horseracing, came to US $35 million.

The Dubai World Cup itself had prize money totalling $12 million, with the $7.2 million winner’s prize the largest in the world.