Glamour mare Snow Fairy has stolen the show at Leopardstown with an emotional victory over fellow British raider Nathaniel in the Irish Champion Stakes.
The globe-trotting mare settled nicely for Frankie Dettori and always looked to have Nathaniel covered as he was driven to overhaul pacemaker Daddy Long Legs rounding the bend.
Favourite Nathaniel was in front and kicked on entering the straight, but Snow Fairy quickened smoothly to take closer order and was always on top as the line approached, claiming the Group One prize by a length-and-a-quarter.
Dettori, who had made the dash to the Dublin track in a helicopter from Haydock with Nathaniel’s jockey William Buick, was deputising on Snow Fairy for the injured Ryan Moore.
He had also ridden Snow Fairy 12 months ago when Ed Dunlop’s star found only So You Think too good.
The Italian’s delight was clear as he performed his famous flying dismount, much to the appreciation of the crowds surrounding the winner’s enclosure.
Snow Fairy had only recently returned from a serious leg injury when she won the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville, and her Irish victory took her Group One haul to seven.
“Usually I don’t notice these things, but I could hear the crowd really get behind her and the roar when she crossed the line,” Dettori said.
“It’s all about the filly, she’s so popular. Everyone was delighted to see her win like that in a fighting finish. She got a tremendous cheer.
“She’s small but she comes with a big punch!
“All the credit goes to Ed and the team for bringing her back after her serious injury. This race has been won by some great champions and she is one of them.”
Dunlop rated Snow Fairy’s win as a career highlight.
“No disrespect to the others, but I think this is the best,” he said.
“To beat some of the best colts around and to break the track record, coming back from a major tendon injury, it doesn’t get better than this.”
Dunlop said the options for Snow Fairy included the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the Champion Stakes against Frankel or the Breeders’ Cup in the United States.