Earning her seventh Group 1 victory in spectacular fashion, Snow Fairy beat two of the best turf males in the world yesterday to take Leopardstown’s Irish Champion Stakes. Ridden by Frankie Dettori, the fantastic five-year-old mare swung into action down the stretch to collar and power past race favorite Nathaniel to win by a convincing length and a quarter. Meanwhile, 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf champion St Nicholas Abbey rallied behind Snow Fairy, but could no better than third. Sent off at odds of 15-8 yesterday, the popular mare has already won major races in five different countries, and may now have her sights set on America.
Before the Irish Champion, her trainer, Ed Dunlop told Dan Munn in a Horse Racing Nation exclusive interview, "Ouija Board won two Breeders’ Cups and, apart from winning my first Classic, it was the most wonderful day of my career. There's the colts and fillies race [Breeders’ Cup Turf] and there's also the fillies only race [Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf]. In the past we've chosen the Japanese route because, as a three year old, she was eligible for a huge bonus which the Japanese put on and as a four year old we thought we'd go back there, it's very good money and we know she'll have a great chance of winning there, but this year potentially we'll go to America.”
While careful not to commit to anything, it seems clear that Dunlop wants to bring his star to America like he did with his other incredible mare, Ouija Board on three separate occasions. If she does come to Santa Anita in less than two months, she will no doubt be the horse to beat in whichever of the two races chosen.
Coming off an excellent return from injury score in Deauville’s Prix Jean Romanet last month, Snow Fairy was content to sit well off a strong early pace set by three-year-old, but needed to be ready to pounce as multiple group 1 winner Nathaniel, would have first run under William Buick. As the favorite hit the lead, the globetrotting mare had swung to the outside and was in full flight. Known for his tenacity in the late stages, one would have thought that Nathaniel would be near impossible to go by in the mile and a quarter affair, but the hard charging Snow Fairy clearly had other plans. As she quickened, her male counterpart could offer no real answer, and the outcome was decided in rather quick manner.
Now a winner or more than $4 million Euros in her remarkable career, and still fresh after only two races so far in 2012, Snow Fairy looks even better than before the injury and could be in the middle of an unprecedented journey that may see her run in any combination of the October 7, Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp, the October 20 Champion Stakes at Ascot, and then one of the Breeders’ Cup races in California on November 2 or 3. While the possibility of all three may be a bit unlikely, it is certainly not out of the question for this hearty champion. Wherever she goes, you can bet the racing world will be watching.