Snow Fairy set to take on the big boys in tasty Eclipse
Published 30/06/2011 | 05:00
It's a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire for Snow Fairy,
with her handler Ed Dunlop confirming that last weekend's Pretty Polly Stakes withdrawal is a likely starter in Saturday's Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.
The dual 2010 Oaks heroine is yet to make her seasonal bow, but Dunlop expressed a preference for the prestigious Group One over a lesser event at Haydock the same day. With So You Think and Workforce also Eclipse bound, an old-fashioned clash of the titans awaits, though some reputations would certainly fall farther than others.
Four-time Group One winner Snow Fairy is as big as 8/1 for the 10-furlong contest, as yesterday's news did little to dissuade punters from siding with the odds-on So You Think. Despite a surprise defeat at Royal Ascot, Aidan O'Brien's high-profile Australian import remains a general 4/5 shot to deny both last year's Epsom Derby and Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe victor Workforce and the Dunlop-trained mare.
Judging by his comments, Dunlop is under no illusion about the task ahead. "They're the two best horses in Europe," he said of So You Think and Workforce, "and the race is what it is. We need to start somewhere and this isn't the be all and end all."
While Workforce secured a handsome win in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes over course and distance in May, he is an easy-to-back 2/1 second favourite for Saturday. Michael Stoute's team, without a winner now for 19 days, remains out of form, although Workforce was the subject of a positive gallops bulletin yesterday morning.
Prior to So You Think's Sandown foray -- where he could be joined by Ballydoyle stable mates Cape Blanco, Jan Vermeer and Alexander Pope -- there are more modest raiders on duty at Perth this afternoon. In all, 14 Irish-trained horses are scheduled to take part at the picturesque Scottish venue.
Few will generate as much interest as Tony Martin's duo Mr Nobody and Adrianeo under Ruby Walsh. The former champion jockey, who has won on three of his last four rides, is making the journey to Perth for a first time in four seasons.
Meanwhile, Andrew Lynch is hoping for good news when he goes for his latest hospital check-up next week. Lynch was left with a broken right arm and left wrist following a fall at Fairyhouse over Easter.
He said yesterday that both injuries are coming along well, and that he is aiming to be back in the saddle in time for the Galway Festival, which gets underway on July 25.