When Snow Fairy pulled up slightly lame yesterday, examination showed she again had a problem with her near fore-tendon. It was a huge disappointment for Dunlop, who had suggested recently that she was training so well that she “could be even better this year.”
That would be some achievement for a horse that has won six Group/Grade 1 races already, starting with dual Oaks successes in England and Ireland in 2010, and culminating with a first win over the colts when beating Nathaniel and St Nicholas Abbey when setting a track record time at Leopardstown in the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes last September.
Ryan Moore, for whom Snow Fairy was a first Group 1 winning ride in the Investec Oaks, clearly loved the horse. He said, "She had a lot of class, but she was really a fighter more than anything. She had a fantastic will to win and just wanted to please you. I would say of all my wins on her, my favourite was when she won in Hong Kong (Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup, 2010). She was very consistent and her record speaks for itself."
Total winnings of almost £4m represent a huge return for a horse that was bought back as a yearling for €1,800 by owner Cristina Patina. And rather than send her mare to be covered by one of the established top class colts, the owner is bringing her back to her roots and another of her horses. Next year she’ll be visiting Elusive Pimpernel in his third season at the Islanmore Stud, covered at the lordly sum of €1,000. Some may think that a strange decision, when Snow Fairy could have had her pick of the chaps, but it’s the way her owner likes to operate, and it hasn’t done Mrs Patino any harm to date.
Perhaps it isn’t the end, after all, just a new chapter beginning.