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The fairytale racecourse career of the outstanding racemare, Snow Fairy, has drawn to a close after the brilliant middle distance performer suffered another training setback and her trainer, Ed Dunlop, and owner, Cristina Patino, decided that the daughter of Initkhab won’t stand any more training.
The retirement of the winner of eight of her 21 races – including a sensational six in Group 1 company around the world – has prompted a wave of tributes from jockeys who rode her, and from Dunlop himself, whose skilled handling of the bargain 1800 euros yearling has deservedly drawn tremendous praise over the last four seasons.
Dunlop may not exactly have had many great winners at Cheltenham last year, but is still up there with the best of the bunch when it comes to training.
Placed in Group company as a juvenile and already having proved a revelation for such a cheap purchase, Snow Fairy came into her own as a three-year-old, landing the listed Height of Fashion Stakes at Goodwood on her seasonal bow.
She then came in with a devastating run under Ryan Moore to catch Remember When close home, springing a 9/1 surprise in the 2010 Group 1 Investec Oaks at Epsom.
Anyone who thought her Oaks win might have been a fluke was silenced when Dunlop’s filly followed up in style in the Irish equivalent at the Curragh six weeks after. Later on that season, she stunned racegoers in the Far East by landing Group 1 successes both in Japan and Hong Kong, establishing herself as one of the best racehorses in the world.
After running great races in defeat at four – coming second to the mighty So You Think in the 2011 Irish Champion Stakes, third to the brilliant Danedream in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and third to Cirrus Des Aigles in the Dubai Champion Stakes – the mare returned to Japan to win the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Commemorative Trophy for a second time.
Last season, after a delayed preparation, the now five-year-old mare won the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauvile (later disqualified on a technicality), before what proved to be her final racecourse appearance when getting the better of the high-class Nathaniel in a tremendous race for Irish Champion Stakes.
The mare was truly an outstanding racehorse and has now been retired to a hopefully long and successful career at stud as a broodmare.
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