Fairy bang on track to repeat last termís Far East heroics
Anyone who doubted that last seasonís star middle-distance filly Snow Fairy is as good as last term had those doubts washed easily away as the Ed Dunlop-trained star gave international super-horse So you Think a tremendous run for his money in a pulsating finish to the Group 1 Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday night, writes Elliot Slater.
At best racing odds of just 1/4 it was clear that most punters saw the 10 furlong event as already in the bag for the superb Ballydoyle colt, but jockey Seamie Heffernan had to work harder than many had anticipated as Snow fairy, second to Midday in the Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in July (having been a distant fourth of the five runners behind So You Think in the Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown a few weeks earlier when badly in need of the outing), roared back to form and ran all the way to the line in going down by just half-a-length to a horse regarded by those who bet on racing regularly as the best middle-distance racehorse in the world.
Dunlop could barely hide his delight at the return to the top of her game of the bargain basement filly who last term won both the Epsom and Irish oaks before stunning racegoers in the Far East with brilliant victories at the highest level in both Japan and Hong Kong. A return trip to both countries is still very much on the cards, but first the globe-trotting daughter of Intikhab will have one more run in Europe with the choice resting between the Prix de líArc de Triopmhe or the Prix de líOpera at Longcahmp at the beginning of October, or the Champion Stakes at Newmarket.
Wherever she goes Snow Fairy will have plenty of supporters as she flies the flag for Britain the other side of the Channel and in far-away places with strange sounding names.