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Snow Fairy tale ends with prosaic injury


The final chapter of one of racing’s true fairy tales came to an end in Newmarket yesterday morning. Snow Fairy, the Cinderella mare who rose from the humblest beginnings to win six Group One races worldwide, aggravated an old leg injury during a routine gallop and has been retired. “It is with much sadness that the decision was made,” said her trainer Ed Dunlop, “but she owes us nothing.”

Snow Fairy famously failed to provoke any interest when offered at a small Irish auction as a yearling,  retained by her owner-breeder Cristina Patino for just €1,800 before going on to earn £3,911,804. Her eight wins  include the Oaks and Irish Oaks, two QEII Cups in Japan, a Hong Kong Cup and a stunning defeat of the top-class colts Nathaniel and St Nicholas Abbey in last year’s Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

The daughter of Intikhab, though, was as physically fragile as she was mentally tough and competitive and had to overcome an assortment of problems during her stop-start campaigns. She raced only twice last year, skilfully nursed back to action late in the season, and had yet to appear this year. Her recent work of a morning had shown the engine to be as good as ever, but in the end the wheels had had enough.

“Mrs Patino has been the most wonderful owner of a truly amazing horse,” added Dunlop. “Most owners would have retired her a lot sooner, and if that had been the case she would not have won the Irish Champion Stakes, which was without doubt her greatest performance.”

Snow Fairy, whose top-level placed efforts included a third in the 2011 Arc, captured hearts worldwide and, as the only foreign raider to win two top-level contests at Kyoto, she was particularly big in Japan. “She is adored there,” said Dunlop.

As one glittering career ends, a nascent one is poised to kick-start. The Sir Michael Stoute-trained Telescope will make his eagerly anticipated reappearance tomorrow against two rivals at  Leicester.

Turf  Account

Chris Mcgrath’s Nap

Regiment (2.40 Catterick)

Won his maiden two weeks ago over today’s course and distance, accounting for a well-entered rival, and looks sharply progressive and more than capable of conceding weight all round in his first nursery.

Next Best

Storm Trooper (6.05 Sandown)

His inexperience showed on Chepstow’s undulations on his debut but will know more now and today’s test should not prove a problem.