Snow Fairy brought her owner/breeder Cristina Patino to tears on Sunday when returning to the track after nine months off to win the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville for the sixth Group 1 victory of her career.
The five-year-old was in feisty form when being saddled before the race, baring her teeth at trainer Ed Dunlop and marching around the pre-parade ring with her ears back. Looking in peak condition despite her lengthy absence, she put her determined nature to good use once on the track, holding her own against one of this season’s top performers, Izzi Top, who tried her level best to get the better of Snow Fairy down the long Deauville straight.
It wasn’t just Patino who was moved by the return of Snow Fairy. Dunlop was prompted to claim her victory in Normandy as the highlight of a training career which has included seven Group 1 victories with another champion filly, Ouija Board.
John Gosden’s charge had to settle for second place, trailing the dual Oaks winner by three-quarters of a length, with Goldikova’s little sister Galikova in third, while Timepiece ensured that Newmarket raiders filled three of the first four places in the top-class contest.
Newmarket claimed another big-race win on French turf via the Marco Botti-trained Joshua Tree, who won the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay less than 24 hours after his stable-mate Jakkalberry won the inaugural American St Leger at Arlington Park in Chicago.
It wasn’t just runners from British racing’s HQ that shone at Deauville, however, as Reckless Abandon maintained his unbeaten record with victory in the Darley Prix Morny to give Lambourn trainer Clive Cox his second French Group 1 win after Gilt Edge Girl landed the 2010 Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp.