Two months ago Christophe Soumillon flew to Louisville with the dream of winning the Kentucky Derby aboard Thunder Snow, a noble endeavour reduced to the level of ridicule when the son of Helmet turned the Run for the Roses into a rodeo.
While a thousand internet memes have sprung up to ridicule him, Thunder Snow has since undergone a particularly hard school of rehabilitation as a serious colt and got his reward with Soumillon aboard as he secured a second Group 1 in the Prix Jean Prat at Chantilly on Sunday.
Thunder Snow made all and comfortably held favourite Trais Fluors to belatedly follow up last year's Criterium International.
"He is a rock," said Soumillon, who was so determined to keep the partnership in tact that he played one of his two disciplinary jokers for the campaign to ride at Chantilly on Sunday. "He is not huge which is what makes him so versatile. Thunder Snow can handle a wide range of distances and if he had run in the Prix du Jockey Club he wouldn't have been far away at the finish. He is a horse for the Dubai World Cup and I played my joker in order to ride him."
Bin Suroor said: "I think he likes being in here in France; he has run twice and won two Group 1s.
"We'll keep the options open with him between the Juddmonte International and the QEII in October. Or he could come back for the Jacques le Marois. It depends on the ground and we will have to see how he comes out of this race."
"He has improved with time and he is a very relaxed horse. He does whatever you want in the mornings and in his races. Now we will look to the future for a big Group 1."
For much of the straight it was Gold Luck who gave vain chase to Thunder Snow, with the previously undefeated Trais Fluors only finding his stride late in the day after racing some way off the pace for much of the race.
"The jockey [Vincent Cheminaud] said he was a little bit lifeless breaking from the stalls and he found himself a bit far back, while he wasn't able to pick him up as he would have liked," said owner-breeder Andreas Putsch. "Nonetheless he made up a lot of ground so we are happy. The positive to draw is that he should be able to stay further."