Snow Fairy wins the Irish Champion Stakes
Snow Fairy wins the Irish Champion Stakes

Click above to watch Snow Fairy winning the Irish Champion Stakes (Gr1)

(Image : RTE - Footage : Horse Turk)


Leopardstown, Turf, 2012m

8 September 2012

Cristina Patino’sSnow Fairy (Ire) (Intikhab), second to So You Think (NZ) (High Chaparral) in Leopardstown’s G1 Irish Champion Stakes 12 months ago, would not be denied this time as she continued on her remarkable comeback from injury. Having served notice that she was at least as good as ever when winning Deauville’s G1 Prix Jean Romanet over this trip on her belated return last time August 19, the 15-8 second favorite notched up her seventh Group 1 in style to allay any concerns about her well-being.

Snow Fairy’s rise to prominence has been well-documented, but few expected she would ever be able to surpass her great predecessor Ouija Board (GB) (Cape Cross) in Ed Dunlop’s estimations. While her victories in the G1 English and Irish Oaks, the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup and G1 Hong Kong Cup at three marked her a class apart from her contemporaries, she still had a margin to close on Lord Derby’s stellar performer at that stage. She failed to fire instantly last term, but after roughing up the supposed certainty So You Think in this contest, she was third in the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp and the G1 Champion Stakes at Ascot in October. Back to winning ways when emulating her prior victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup at Kyoto November 13, she sustained a tendon injury before the Hong Kong Cup and had to chart the awkward path back to full fitness.

Despite her trainer’s understandable doubts ahead of her return in the Prix Jean Romanet, the manner of her dispatch of some top-class distaffers headed by the G1 Pretty Polly Stakes heroine Izzi Top (GB) (Pivotal) answered all questions. Left alone early by jockey Frankie Dettori as Daddy Long Legs (Scat Daddy) set out to stretch the field in favor of his stable companion St Nicholas Abbey, Snow Fairy always had dead aim on Nathaniel as that rival was committed on the front end by William Buick at the top of the straight. Body language told the story soon after, with the Italian sitting pretty as Nathaniel and St Nicholas Abbey’s riders got to work and, after brushing aside the eventual runner-up with just over a furlong remaining, Snow Fairy ran hard to the line to set a new track record.

“The race went exactly to plan and I didn’t realise how popular she is,” Dettori said after steering a fifth winner of this race. “The reception I got was unbelievable and the credit goes to Ed Dunlop and the team for bringing her back. She retains her will-to-win and class and she’s up there with the champions who have won this in the past. It’s an honour to be on her again and it was a great race - she made it look easy for me.”

“This is the best of her achievements, and it doesn’t get better,” Dunlop commented. “I thought we were plenty far enough out of our ground, but she showed an amazing turn of foot again. Ouija Board was second and she was beaten by So You Think here last year, so it’s great to have it on my CV. We’ve always said this year that we would take it one race at a time. She’s in the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp October 7 and the G1 Champion Stakes at Ascot October 20, but Frankel is in that and that is a different level entirely. I’d like to take her to the Breeders’ Cup, as she hasn’t done that, and winning a Group 1 in a sixth country may be a record.”

Courtesy of this win, the peripatetic runner secured a berth in the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita November 3.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News