Snow Fairy (3) was narrowly beaten by So You Think in the race last yearPICTURE: Patrick McCann (racingpost.com/photos)
Fairy ready for Irish Champion Stakes test
TRAINER Ed Dunlop has reported Snow Fairy to be in prime condition before her next big test against the colts in Saturday's Red Mills Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.
The star mare posted an exceptional winning performance in the Group 1 Darley Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville last month on her first start for over ten months but she will be without the assistance of regular jockey Ryan Moore on Saturday, who misses the race through injury.
Snow Fairy - who finished second to So You Think in the race last year - will be partnered by Frankie Dettori when she lines up against Nathaniel and St Nicholas Abbey in the 1m2f contest and Dunlop said conditions will favour his five-year-old.
"She arrived in Ireland last night and she seems to have travelled well," said Dunlop. "She's come out the race [Prix Jean Romanet] incredibly well. She seems fresh and well and Frankie rode her work the other day and he was pleased with her. At this stage we're happy with her.
"She showed last year with So You Think that it was probably the best run of her life ratings-wise. The track should suit and the ground is drying up dramatically but we're under no illusions - it's as competitive a race as last year without So You Think. Nathaniel is rightly favourite and we mustn't forget about St Nicholas Abbey either."
Ed Dunlop: trains Snow FairyPICTURE: Edward Whitaker
Snow Fairy is no bigger than 9-4 to record her seventh Group 1 victory but Nathaniel, who ran an almighty race to finish only a nose behind Danedream in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last time, heads the market at 11-10 with Ladbrokes and William Hill.
Dunlop, speaking on At The Races, added: "She has a huge will to win and she's very tough.
"She quickens well and I imagine it will be a stiff stamina test. Nathaniel and St Nicholas Abbey are very effective over a mile and a half so it will be a tough race but the signs are right that she's okay. But only the race will tell."
"The Irish Champion is one of the premier European races, which is always very valuable, and it's very exciting for us all to have her running in it again.
"We'd love to win but, unlike Frankel, we're not defending an unbeaten record and I'm sure if she's on song she will run extremely well."