Snow Fairy weaves her magic for Oaks double
Snow Fairy and Ryan Moore joined the Darley Irish Oaks roll of honour before 6,155 spectators at The Curragh yesterday to further confound the sceptics who rejected the filly at the sales and allay fears that the rain-soaked ground would scuttle her repeat Classic bid.
Knocked down for a mere €1,800 as a yearling at Fairyhouse, the home-bred daughter of Intikhab came up trumps with a vengeance as a supplementary entry again for an Oaks outing to become the 13th filly to complete the Epsom-Curragh double.
Snow Fairy came late to deny Meeznah in the English version after owner-breeder Cristina Patina had forked out £20,000 for the sortie and she put up €42,500 last Tuesday to supplement her once more for the Darley promotion.
The prospect of the weather spoiling the Snow Fairy party yesterday, however, was very much in the thoughts of Newmarket trainer Ed Dunlop, who previously captured the coveted Classic with Lailani (2001) and Ouija Board in 2004.
"We knew this filly had improved from Epsom, has a huge heart and is growing up. But the only time she ran in the soft, at Newbury last October, she couldn't handle it so we were worried beforehand as I would have been quite confident on better ground," Dunlop said.
"My owner took another plunge with the supplementary fee and it worked out again with Snow Fairy doing really well out there.
"She's going to get a rest now and then we'll look at a plan similar to Ouija Board -- there's the Yorkshire Oaks and France to consider," he added.
Moore made the Classic breakthrough on Snow Fairy at Epsom before landing the Derby 24 hours later with Workforce and yesterday's maiden victory at this level on Irish soil was equally sweet for Britain's champion jockey.
"She's been very good to me and is a bit of a freak. I wasn't happy, though, when she got stopped early on and then wasn't travelling as I'd have liked on the downhill run to the straight. When I got her into gear, though, we arrived there too early really and, considering how much better she is on drier ground, you'd have to say it was a good performance," the young rider said.
Godolphin's fellow supplementary entry Miss Jean Brodie, which had to be re-shod at the start, kept on best of the well-beaten field for second money to fully justify her inclusion after a Doncaster maiden success and another outsider Lady Lupus ran the race of her life, also for Joseph and Aidan O'Brien, to get the better of a duel with Epsom runner-up Meeznah for third place.
Moore had triumphed as well in the preceding Kilboy Estate Stakes when guiding David Wachman's Latin Love (9/1) through a narrow gap on the far rail over a furlong out to contain rivals Emolous and She's Our Mark.
"She was second in this race a year ago to She's Our Mark and we'll keep throwing her hat in the ring for similar fillies races," Wachman said.
She's Our Mark's trainer Pat Flynn had better luck later on when Clonmel handicap hurdle winner Mon Champion successfully reverted to the Flat with Lisa O'Neill aboard to deny Taralga a repeat victory in the Thalgo Ladies Derby.
Kevin Prendergast's Leopardstown maiden scorer Dunboyne Express and American-bred newcomer Pathfork, from Jessica Harrington's yard, had started the meeting in some style with decisive victories that augur well for future exploits.
Dunboyne Express ran right away from the favourite Samuel Morse in the closing stages of the Jebel Ali Anglesey Stakes in the colours of the Shamardal colt's breeder John Connaughton, after which Prendergast said: "He handled this ground well and maybe the others didn't. We've always liked this horse and he could go for the Phoenix Stakes if he gets nicer going."
Harrington, likewise, has designs on returning to headquarters for the Futurity Stakes with Pathfork, which travelled strongly for apprentice Shane Foley before putting odds-on Robin Hood firmly in his place during the Behan Maiden.