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 skilled trainer, Ed Dunlop, and owner, passionate Cristina Patino, decided that the daughter of Intikhab won’t stand any more training.
Snow Fairy's racing journey captivated the hearts of racing enthusiasts around the globe and 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.
Early Years and Pedigree:
Born in 2007, Snow Fairy was bred in Ireland by Windflower Overseas Holdings Inc. Her pedigree boasted a blend of top-class bloodlines, being sired by the renowned stallion Intikhab and out of the mare Woodland Dream. This exceptional lineage hinted at the promise of greatness that would later define the Snow Fairy racing career.
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.
A respected figure in the world of horse racing, he assumed the responsibility of shaping Snow Fairy's career. Known for his meticulous approach to training and his ability to develop champions, Dunlop played a pivotal role in unlocking the potential within Snow Fairy. Under his guidance, the filly evolved into a force to be reckoned with on the racing circuit.
Snow Fairy's racing journey commenced in 2009, and it didn't take long for her to make an impact.
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.
Snow Fairy's talent knew no bounds, and she showcased her prowess on the international stage.
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, winning the Kyoto Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup (Grade 1) (3yo+ Fillies & Mares) (Turf) and Sha Tin when overcoming the opposition to win the Hong Kong Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup (Group 1) (3yo+) (Turf), establishing herself as one of the best racehorses in the world in the process.
After running great races in defeat at four years of age – when she came 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, beating Aventura by a neck.
Injury and Comeback:
The road to glory is often fraught with challenges, and Snow Fairy faced a significant setback in 2012 when she suffered a tendon injury. Many doubted whether she could return to her previous form, but Snow Fairy, true to her resilient nature, defied the odds.
In her last season, after a delayed preparation, the now five-year-old mare won the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville (later disqualified on a technicality when a banned substance was found in a sample), before what proved to be her final racecourse appearance when getting the better of the high-class John Gosden trained favourite Nathaniel in the Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes (Group 1) at Leopardstown.
The mare was truly an outstanding racehorse and has now been retired to a hopefully long and successful career at stud as a broodmare.
Retirement and Legacy:
In 2014, Snow Fairy's illustrious racing career came to a close when she was retired from competition to take on a hopefully long and successful career at stud as a broodmare.
Her legacy, however, continues to inspire racing enthusiasts and aspiring equestrians alike. With multiple Group 1 victories to her name and a remarkable international resume, Snow Fairy remains an icon of the sport.
Snow Fairy's racing career, under the guidance of Ed Dunlop and the ownership of Cristina Patino, stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of thoroughbred excellence. Her journey from a promising filly to an international sensation is a tale of triumph, resilience, and the profound bond between a remarkable horse and her dedicated team.
Snow Fairy will forever be remembered as one of the greats, leaving an indelible mark on the rich tapestry of horse racing history.