Forty years after Shergar destroyed the Derby field of 1981 by a whopping ten lengths, easing up at the line, a filly with the gentle name of Snowfall scored a record-breaking win in the Oaks, running right away from her opposition at Epsom to score by an amazing 16-length margin.
The 16-length margin broke the Oaks record previously held by the 1983 Oaks winner Sun Princess, who won by 12 lengths.
Snowfall was one of five runners sent out by the Aidan O’Brien stable to contest the 2021 Oaks and the magnitude of her victory is perhaps best summed up by the fact that she beat home the race favourite … her stable-mate Santa Barbara … by an astonishing 21.75 lengths.
The result was notable for two reasons other than Snowfall’s romp.
Snowfall’s win moved O’Brien into a tie with John Scott’s 185-year-old record of 40 British Classic winners and Frankie Dettori, who rode the daughter of Deep Impact, also drew level with Fred Archer on 21 Classic winners at the top of the Jockey’s Classic winners leaderboard.
Dettori was quick to suggest Snowfall could match some of the achievements of Enable, with whom Dettori had such a great affinity and great success, the jockey saying, “Enable was very good, she did the Irish Oaks, King George and Arc, and I wouldn’t put that past her (Snowfall), she’s that good.”
O’Brien was buoyed by Dettori’s report card on the filly.
“Frankie said he was in first gear the whole way. He was mega impressed. He said at all stages she was cantering and it’s proper soft ground, but it felt like good ground on her, so she’s obviously just a very good filly” said O’Brien, as quoted in The Bloodhorse.
“She looks a very exciting filly for this year. I was talking about the Irish Oaks, but Frankie said don’t be afraid to take on the older horses with her and don’t be afraid to do it early.”
After the win, Snowfall has moved to the head of the betting market for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at 5-1, displacing another O’Brien trained runner Love, who won last year’s Oaks by nine lengths.