Snow Fairy Plans Afoot
Owner/breeder Cristina Patino gambled £20,000 to enter Snow Fairy for the Investec Oaks at the supplementary stage on Saturday, but it paid off in style.
The filly, ridden by Ryan Moore, won more than 10 times that amount, and trainer Ed Dunlop said, with tongue slightly in cheek: “It was a very easy decision to make - she’d won £23,000 when successful at Goodwood, so it was this race or the Ribblesdale Stakes [at Royal Ascot] and Mrs Patino very sportingly said ‘there’s only one Oaks’.”
Dunlop trained Ouija Board to win the Investec Oaks in 2004, but when asked if that victory gave him an indication of Snow Fairy’s chances he said: “No, because we planned the Oaks for Ouija Board when she was a two-year-old, not three weeks beforehand. I had major reservations about this filly staying, but Ryan rode her four days ago and seemed quite optimistic when I took the saddle from him.
“The great thing is she can quicken - there were a lot of staying fillies in the race - and it was an amazing ride to come from that far back in a messy race.”
Reflecting on Snow Fairy’s route to victory, jockey Ryan Moore said: “It was a very rough race, particularly when the pace slowed half-way through, but luckily I was able to get in behind Johnny [Murtagh, on Remember When] who had his two stablemates around him and so I got a good trip. We were all bunched up three furlongs out, but my filly had a turn of foot and I used it.”
This was Moore’s first Classic victory, but he was his usual phlegmatic self. Asked about his emotions he said: “Being honest there’s not too much emotion going on. It’s a marvellous race to win, but there’s no point worrying or getting too excited about any one race because there are more rides tomorrow. I just get on with it and hope things work out.”
Asked what might be Snow Fairy’s best trip, Moore said: “I think she might be effective at 10 and 12 furlongs. Today’s wasn’t a strongly-run race, but they were still climbing for the first half and they have to stay at Epsom.”
Moore said he thought the Curragh, and a bid for the Irish Oaks, would suit the filly, and Dunlop joked that Mrs Patino’s racing manager, Patrick Cooper, would have to ask her if she would supplement for that race, too.
However, Dunlop added: “She’s won at Goodwood, so the Nassau Stakes [over ten furlongs] has to be an option later in the year, although she’s in no races at present.
“Ouija Board went straight to the Irish Oaks as many Oaks winners do, but that’s quite a long way away so she can have a break. Fast ground she loves - I got that completely wrong at the back-end of her two-year-old season - so she could go to the Curragh. She’s very straightforward, very tough and easy to train, although she can be a little masculine and a little aggressive in the box. She’s a credit to the team at home.”
Reflecting on an Investec Oaks home-bred winner, Patrick Cooper, said: “It’s fantastic for Mrs Patino - it’s what we’re in the game for. She’s had horses in training with John Dunlop for some 20 years and it’s great for John that his son has trained the Oaks winner.
“The dam of this filly is a sister to Big Bad Bob [by Roberto’s son Bob Back], so it was easy to go to another son of Roberto [in this case Intikhab, the sire of Snow Fairy]. Unfortunately after breeding this filly the mare was barren for three years in a row - we had sent her to America to be covered by Arch - and so we let her go, and I believe she’ s now being covered by paint [coloured] horses.
“At least we’ve got this filly, who is now an Oaks winner, to keep and breed from.”
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