The dreadful tendon injury that Snow Fairy suffered last autumn means that taking things one day at a time after she has raced is anything but a cliché. Her trainer Ed Dunlop is in that position now following a course record time victory at Leopardstown in the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday.
That injury, sustained as she won a second Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup in Japan in November, led to a break of 280 days before she returned to racing in August this year. And what a return Snow Fairy has had, winning both her races, and adding two further Group 1 successes to the five she had gained previously.
Dunlop is now reflecting on where to go next with his remarkable mare. He said yesterday, “We have always said with the state of the injury that we needed to take one race at a time. The options are the Arc, the Prix de l’Opera and the Champion Stakes. Those are the only European options we will consider.”
It’s clear that Dunlop would prefer one of the French races, but he isn’t sure which one yet. He went on, “ The Opera would, in theory, be an easier option than the Arc. She was third in the Arc last year and she deserves to dance at the top table.”
Of the Champion Stakes, well, he says, there’s Frankel to contend with in that.
Dunlop, though, has his sights set further afield. Snow Fairy has already won Group 1 races in Honk Kong, Japan and France, as well as Britain and Ireland. Dunlop fancies a sixth country – America. He said, “ I've said before I'd like to go to the Breeders' Cup, she hasn't done that and I'd love to take her to America and maybe win in a sixth country."
I wouldn’t put it past them.