Hanna keeps Fairy feet on ground

Behind every star, there is an entourage, and horses are no exception. But in the case of Snow Fairy, one of the fancied contenders for Saturday's Champion Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday, to describe one of her followers as a hanger-on is by no means pejorative in tone. The dual Oaks heroine tends towards exuberant friskiness when she goes out for exercise with her trainer Ed Dunlop's string and has unseated most of those who have sat on her. The exception is Lynsey Hanna, whose sympathetic handling has given a positive direction to the filly's exuberance.

And Dunlop is the first to acknowledge the debt to such back-room talent as Hanna. "A high-spirited horse can be ruined in a minute by the wrong handling," he said yesterday. "It is impossible to stress the importance of the work done by the whole team in any stable."

Hanna, 26, has worked with racehorses since she left school. She rode more than 20 winners in her time as an apprentice jockey with David Barron in Yorkshire before settling for a behind-the-scenes role and has been with Dunlop in Newmarket for six years. And since taking over the stewardship of Snow Fairy during last winter, she has refused to desert her charge for even a day.

"I haven't had a holiday this year," she said cheerfully, "and on my days off, though I'd not work in the yard, I've come in to ride her. I've been in racing for 11 years and I've not had a horse this good and I'm making the most of it."

Hanna's attitude, and the bond she has forged with feisty Snow Fairy, is typical of those who work with horses. "I just love riding her," she said. "In the stable, she's a pleasure to look after. Her favourite thing is eating; she never leaves an oat or any hay and her brown coat comes up like a seal's when it's brushed, just beautiful.

"She not that big, but from on top she never feels as small as she looks, she's got a good shoulder and long stride. She's always thought quite a lot of herself and can be naughty when she's ridden, she'll mess about and throw in a buck or two. But I don't mind; when she does that I know she's in good form and happy. Right now she's bouncing."

The Champion Stakes, the last senior Group One prize of the domestic season, will be Snow Fairy's second try against colts, following her creditable fourth in last month's St Leger, and the drop in trip to Saturday's stiff 10 furlongs will suit her well. "Three out at Doncaster there was only one winner," said Dunlop, "She was cantering all over them. Then her stamina ran out and it was only her guts that let her finish as close as she did."

Snow Fairy's rivals on Saturday will include last year's winner Twice Over, the favourite from Henry Cecil's yard, French raiders Vision D'Etat and Fuisse, and supplemented Godolphin candidate Poet's Voice. Yesterday 15 were left in the £350,000 race, with the field due to be finalised on Thursday.

However Snow Fairy – who carries the colours of her breeder Cristina Patino – fares, this country's most prestigious autumn contest is but a stepping stone to a far more lucrative target next month, when faithful Hanna will escort her to Japan for the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Kyoto. The first prize is nearly £700,000, which would be doubled if she, as an Oaks winner, won it.

Turf Account

Sue Montgomery's Nap

Danadana (3.10 Leicester)

Made an eyecatching debut in fifth at Wolverhampton last month and can follow the example of two of those who finished in front of him by following up with a victory.

Next Best

Super Sleuth (4.40 Leicester)

Still a maiden, but has been highly tried and is relatively lightly raced. Comes off a break, but drops in class and will have the ground that should suit.

One to Watch

Brother Bob (C E Longsdon) did best of the debutants when third in a novice hurdle at Huntingdon earlier in the month.

Where the Money's Going

Red Cadeaux has been cut from 12-1 to 10-1 third favourite by the sponsors for Saturday's Totesport Cesarewitch at Newmarket.

Chris McGrath's Nap

Swincombe Rock (3.50 Huntingdon)

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Project Manager - Birmingham - up to £40,000 - 12 month FTC

£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Manager - Birmingham - ...

SThree: Recruitment Consultant - IT

£25000 - £30000 per annum + Uncapped Commission: SThree: Sthree are looking fo...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin (based in London)

£20000 - £25000 per annum + commission: SThree: Real Staffing's Pharmaceutical...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before