First-season sire Helmet has enjoyed a tremendous season with his first European runners and on 30 October, he recorded his first G1 winner in outstanding style as his son Thunder Snow easily took the Criterium International.

Prominent throughout under Christophe Soumillon, the Saeed bin Suroor-trained colt was asked to quicken two furlongs from home and could not have been more impressive as he moved clear in just a few strides and was eased down crossing the line a full five lengths in front of his nearest rival.

Thunder Snow won on his racecourse debut back in May and has raced solely in Group company ever since, finishing second in the G2 Vintage Stakes at Goodwood before being beaten just a head by subsequent G1 winner Rivet in the G2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.

Thunder Snow becomes the fourth Black type winner out of the winning Dubai Destination mare Eastern Joy, also dam of Shamardal’s smart daughter Ihtimal (winner of the G2 May Hill Stakes and third in the G1 Fillies’ Mile and the 1,000 Guineas), Listed winner and G1 placegetter Always Smile (Cape Cross) and G3 Oh So Sharp Stakes winner First Victory (Teofilo). Eastern Joy is herself a half-sister to G1 French Oaks winner West Wind and is from the family of great racemare Balanchine.

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A dual G1 winner himself at two who went on to win the G1 Caulfield Guineas in record time, Helmet has sired 16 individual winners in Europe this year, including fellow Group horses Mur Hiba and Eqtiraan. He is also sire of Group winner Archives in Australia.

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