Tuesday, July 20, 2010

English Nonsense, or. . .Do You Believe in the Snow Fairy?

Trainer Ed Dunlop is so impressed with Snow Fairy’s recent improvement that she soon will be at the same level as Ouija Board, in his estimation. Say what? Is he really comparing the Irish bred, and English based three-year-old filly, who only won a single race in six tries as a juvenile, to the great, multiple champion, Ouija Board? Clearly this has to be an egregious case of horse racing blasphemy. Maybe.

Moments after Sunday’s Group 1 Irish Oaks there was good reason to let the hyperbole fly. With pacemaker, Ice Empress, setting a strong pace, rider Ryan Moore had Snow Fairy more than ten lengths off the lead for the first mile of the 12 furlong classic. As the real running began in the Curragh’s long stretch, Moore guided his mount off the rail for clear sailing. Snow Fairy quickly responded with an explosive turn of foot. The rally culminated with an eye-popping, eight-length demolition of a strong Oaks field. Snow Fairy left the field farther behind with each powerful stride. The romping win, in the historic race, spoke volumes of her ability and gives credibility to Dunlop‘s bold statement.

The victory came six weeks after Snow Fairy, owned by Anamoine Ltd, first announced herself as a high class individual with a victory in the Group 1 English Oaks. But make no mistake, Sunday’s race was another huge step up from the neck victory at Epsom. This is a filly that is improving leaps and bounds with every start. After moderate success running exclusively in sprints at two, she is now undefeated in three starts as a sophomore, with all three wins being run at a distance. He second consecutive classic victory placed her in an elite sorority by becoming only the 13th filly to complete the English and Irish Oaks double.

It was the third Irish Oaks victory for Dunlop, who called the victory “pretty spectacular,” and added that he would think of going down a similar path as the one he mapped out for Ouija Board. He also sees no reason why the daughter of Intikhab will not continue to run as an older horse. If Snow Fairy is to indeed follow in the huge hoof prints of Ouija Board, she will become an equine globetrotter. Dunlop’s former great, campaigned in seven countries over her four year career, with 10 wins in 22 starts against the best of competition. And the potential good news for U.S. fans is that Dunlop brought Ouija Board over for the Breeders’ Cup in three straight seasons.  Look out American turf mares ... here comes Snow Fairy.

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