March 22, 2019

Snow Fairy conjures up astonishing burst in HK Cup

Last updated: 12/12/10 7:20 PM

Snow Fairy casts her winning spell
(Hong Kong Jockey Club)

Hailed as the “Queen of the Orient” following her demolition job last time
out in Japan, English-based star SNOW FAIRY (Intikhab) reveled in her new title
by rallying from far back to capture Sunday’s $2.6 million Hong Kong Cup (HK-G1)
at Sha Tin. The Ed Dunlop filly was nowhere turning for home, but produced an
electric change of gear in deep stretch to catch local hope Irian (Tertullian)
by a widening neck at the wire.

“I thought she had no chance when we were turning in,” winning rider Ryan
Moore admitted, “but she quickened up so well. She’s got a marvelous turn of
foot. Absolutely fantastic to have done that today. She is very special — a

“She did what we thought she could, and she surpassed it.”

“She’s not the biggest filly in the world, but she’s got the biggest heart,”
Dunlop said of his sophomore, who has now won Group 1 races in four countries
this year — the Oaks (Eng-G1), Irish Oaks (Ire-G1) and Queen Elizabeth II
Commemorative Cup (Jpn-G1) prior to her Hong Kong heroics.

The first two came at 1 1/2 miles, the latter at 1 3/8 miles, and the Cup was
held at about 1 1/4 miles, illustrating Snow Fairy’s range at the highest level.

Irian (left) emerged with great credit in defeat
(Hong Kong Jockey Club)

A homebred racing for Anemoine Ltd., Snow Fairy settled in 12th in the
13-horse field for much of the way, just behind defending champion Vision D’Etat
(Chichicastenango), with Reggane (GB) (Red Ransom) bringing up the rear.

Up front, Hong Kong veteran Packing Winner (Zabeel) dictated through steady
splits of :25 4/5, :51 and 1:16 2/5 on the good turf. French invader Cirrus des
Aigles (Even Top [Ire]) hustled from his outside post to press the pace,
followed by his compatriot Stacelita (Monsun) on the outside and local runner
Super Pistachio (Ire) (Danehill Dancer) on the fence.

In the stretch, a cavalry charge ensued as Stacelita, fellow French contender
Planteur (Danehill Dancer) and Irian all launched their challenges to the
longtime leaders, while Hong Kong’s Super Satin (Danehill Dancer) was
desperately looking for a seam. Wider out, Vision D’Etat was beginning to make
headway, but not as fast as Snow Fairy.

Meanwhile, Irian was traveling best of all those racing in line abreast, and
his sharp turn of foot propelled him clear of the pack. That move that just
might have been the winning one in most years, but it wasn’t enough to counter
Snow Fairy. Bursting onto the scene in time, Snow Fairy overhauled Irian in
ultimately convincing fashion to complete 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) in
2:02 4/5. She ranks as only the second three-year-old filly to beat older males
in the Cup, joining Alexander Goldrun (2004).

The Cup finish framed by the International Raceday decor
(Hong Kong Jockey Club)

Irian was himself 1 3/4 lengths clear of a game Packing Winner, who salvaged
third by a whisker from Vision D’Etat.

“He’s run a super race again,” jockey Brett Prebble said of Irian. “It’s
taken a really good one to beat him.”

“He’s a very brave horse,” rider Olivier Doleuze said of Packing Winner.
“Never gives up. He kept on going to the end.”

Olivier Peslier was regretful of how things panned out for Vision D’Etat in
his career finale before heading off to stud.

“He missed the start, and I had to settle in an awkward position,” Peslier
said. “He did not accelerate as well last year.”

Planteur was about another neck away in fifth, ahead of a somewhat unlucky
Super Satin. Cirrus des Aigles, Stacelita, Reggane, Super Pistachio, Sri Putra
(Oasis Dream [GB]), Glass Harmonium (Verglas [Ire]) and a patently subpar
Collection (Peintre Celebre) rounded out the order of finish. Collection, who
was declared fit to race Sunday morning after being mildly lame Saturday, exited
the Cup lame in his right front leg.

Snow Fairy’s record now stands at 13-6-2-2 with approximately $4.4 million in
earnings (including her bonus from winning the QEII). The bay broke her maiden on the Polytrack at Lingfield in her second
career start last summer. Narrowly beaten under the top weight of 133 pounds in
a Newmarket nursery next time out, Snow Fairy went on to finish fourth in the
Sweet Solera S. (Eng-G3) and a near-miss third in the Prestige S. (Eng-G3). She
concluded her juvenile season with an uncharacteristic ninth on soft ground in
the Radley S., and she was not entered in the Oaks.

Trainer Ed Dunlop might have a worthy replacement for his great globetrotter Ouija Board
(Frank Sorge/

“Perhaps we didn’t know what we were doing!” racing manager Patrick Cooper
joked about her lack of a classic entry.

After opening 2010 with an impressive three-length decision in the May 19
Height of Fashion S. at Goodwood, her owner put up the fee to supplement her to
the June 4 Epsom classic. Overcoming a rough trip in the Oaks, Snow Fairy
prevailed by a neck to repay her connections’ faith. That earned her another
supplemental entry to the July 18 Irish Oaks, where she dominated by eight
lengths on good to yielding ground. Snow Fairy ran well in defeat in her next
two, a runner-up effort to Midday (GB) (Oasis Dream [GB]) in the August 19
Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-G1) and a solid if non-staying fourth in the September 11 St
Leger (Eng-G1) over an extended 1 3/4 miles, before her wildly successful
venture to the Far East.

Bred in Ireland under the auspices of Patino’s
Windflower Overseas Holdings, Snow Fairy was bought back for a mere €1,800 as a
yearling at Tattersalls Ireland in December 2008, with BBA Ireland signing the
ticket on her breeder’s behalf. She is the first foal from the winning Charnwood
Forest (Ire) mare Woodland Dream (Ire), who is a half-sister to German Group 3
victor Big Bad Bob (Bob Back). Further back, this is the family of multiple
Group 3 winner Elusive Pimpernel, runner-up in last year’s Racing Post Trophy
(Eng-G1) and sidelined since his fifth in the Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-G1), as
well as Group 3 victor Palavicini (Giant’s Causeway).

“Hopefully she’ll come back for this race again next year because she’s going
to stay in training as a four-year-old,” Dunlop said.