Dunlop eyes Deauville for Snow Fairy return date
THE best horse at Sandown yesterday showed her style and went home long before the crowds arrived for last night's meeting.
Snow Fairy, one of the best middle-distance horses of the past two seasons but yet to race this term, took a positive step towards her eagerly awaited comeback with a workout over a mile at the Esher track. If all goes to plan, she will reappear at Deauville on Sunday week.
"I was very happy with how she went," said trainer Ed Dunlop, "depending on how she comes out of it, we are tempted to start her off in the Prix Jean Romanet. It will be ground-dependent, obviously, but they tell me it's sunny weather in France and the ground is drying out nicely."
The 10-furlong Deauville race will be a drop in class for Snow Fairy, whose last 12 starts have been Group Ones. The five-year-old, winner of the Oaks two years ago, has won five times at the highest level and has never been worse than fourth competing on a global stage.
She finished her 2011 European season with thirds in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and Champion Stakes, before taking the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Japan for the second time. A leg injury sustained in November while preparing for a contest in Hong Kong has kept her out of action since.
"We're taking it all one step at a time," added Newmarket-based Dunlop. "She's entered in the Champion Stakes, the Irish Champion, the Arc and the Opera, but we haven't dreamt that far ahead yet."