‘Sno joke for Snow Fairy

Snow Fairy - bogged down by the French rulebook

Ed Dunlop did his best to get a race into Snow Fairy last week. At York it was the rain and ground that conspired against him. In France it was the rulebook.

The dual Oaks winner had been due to race in the Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks on Thursday, but having seen that the ground on the opening day of the meeting was riding far too soft for her, Dunlop had withdrawn her from the race on Wednesday evening. His intention had been to re-route Snow Fairy to Deauville for the Prix Jean Romanet, but an obscure and rarely used rule prevented him doing so.

Rule 130 of the French book states that any horse that has been declared for a race and then failed to take part cannot be declared within the next eight days. Dunlop was furious when he was notified by France Galop. “More fool me for breaking the rule, but I didn't know it existed and France Galop never advised me that it did. What is also very frustrating is that I'm led to believe that on numerous occasions, things have been done differently. Montjeu won the Prix Niel in 1999 the day after he had been declared to run in Ireland."

It is thought that the rule was invoked when one of the French trainers with runners in the race brought it to the attention of officials. Andre Fabre, who trained the eventual winner Announce said, "I think it's a very stupid rule and I've said many times that I don't think we should have it, but, having said that, while it is the rule it obviously has to be applied."

Other leading French trainers have called for the rule to be scrapped, including Criquette Head, president of the French Trainers Association, who has been pressing for consistency of rules throughout Europe. She's absolutely right.

It is likely now that the rule will be re-examined, and an unnamed official from France Galop acknowledged as much when he said, "There have been a lot of discussions about this rule since this incident and the people responsible will be reviewing it in the near future."

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1 reply
  1. David says:

    This is a great pity for Snow Fairy who definitely needs to get a few races in before the end of seson classics and a possible return to Hong Kong where she won the Cathay Pacific US$2.6million Hong Kong Cup last December.

    I was privilaged to be at that meeting as I visit my daughter and grandson in Hong Kong on a fairly regular basis.

    I remeber the race vividly when Ryan who was near the back of the field brought Snow Fairy to the outside of the pack exiting the final bend giving snow Fairy the chance to show her speed and she duly deliverd beating local horse Irian on the line by approx half a length.

    This performance also reminded me of the similar type of ride Keiren Fallen gave that other great British filly ,Ouija Board , when winning the Hong Kong Vase in the same meeting in 2005 for the same trainer Ed Dunlop.

    Regards to you all


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