09 February 2018

The Dubai Destination mare Eastern Joy watched her progeny complete a black-type double at Meydan on Thursday, led by THUNDER SNOW (IRE)’s Group 2 success in the Al Maktoum Challenge. A Group 1 winner at two and three, he finished second over a mile on his seasonal return in January and stepped up in trip by a furlong and a half on Thursday. He overturned the form with last month’s winning rival, Heavy Metal, who finished four lengths third behind runner-up North America.

THUNDER SNOW (IRE)’s little sister, WINTER LIGHTNING (IRE), made her debut last October and broke her maiden in last month’s UAE 1,000 Guineas Trial, beating Rayya by a nose. Stepping up from seven furlongs to a mile in the main event, she beat Rayya by a comfortable two lengths. Her full-sister Ihtimal (IRE) won this race in 2014 and went to win the UAE Oaks, and one would presume this daughter of Shamardal will follow the same path.

Eastern Joy has an incredible record as a broodmare, producing five Group winners from five runners, though she herself never achieved black-type. Her own dam, Group 2 Sun Chariot Stakes winner Red Slippers, produced two Stakes winners, including Prix de Diane heroine West Wind, while the third dam produced Irish Derby winner Balanchine and sire Romanov (IRE).

The card’s sprint feature, the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint over six furlongs, was won by another Irish-bred horse in MY CATCH (IRE), a son of Yeomanstown Stud sire Camacho. A Group 3 winner at two for David Brown, he was then sold to Valentin Bukhtoyarov and Evgeny Kappushev, who move him from the Czech stable of A Savujev to Doug Watson during the Dubai Carnival. Now a seven-year-old, this was his third Stakes win at Meydan and it came by four lengths under Pat Dobbs.

Bred by D Noonan and Loughphilip Bloodstock, MY CATCH (IRE) is one of four Stakes horses out of the Barathea (IRE) mare Catch The Sea (IRE), his siblings including Prix Morny third Vladimir (IRE). Their second dam is Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes winner and Haydock Sprint Cup third Catch The Blues (IRE), who is also the grand-dam of Norfolk Stakes victor Sioux Nation.

Thursday’s card also provided Irish trainer Darren Bunyan his first winner at the track, as his stable star HIT THE BID ran out a comfortable winner of the valuable Watch Time Handicap. The four-year-old was sent off favourite for his eye-catching second behind Ertijaal (IRE) on his Dubai debut last month and won the five furlong contest by a length and three quarters, with recent course winner Dutch Masterpiece his nearest rival. A dual Stakes winner in Ireland, the son of Exceed And Excel will perhaps now be aimed at the Group 2 Meydan Sprint on the 22nd of February.

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