Snowfall clear Arc favourite after demolishing Yorkshire Oaks rivals

Ryan Moore: ‘Filly’s performance as good as anything I’ve felt’

Ryan Moore is a man of few and carefully-chosen words, so his assessment of Snowfall's victory in the Yorkshire Oaks here on Thursday was striking. "Today," he said, "her performance was as good as anything I've felt."

Snowfall was the 8-15 favourite to beat six rivals having run out an easy winner of the English and Irish Oaks on her last two starts, but it was not so much her four-length winning margin which impressed on Thursday as the effortlessness with which it was achieved. Even Moore was taken aback by her rapid progress to lead with two furlongs still to run, as Snowfall’s second gear carried her past opponents who were already close to their finishing speed.

“She got there very quickly and gave me a very professional feel,” Moore said, “and the race was over very quickly . . . at the two-and-a-half, really. She definitely felt today like she was better than she was [in the Irish Oaks] at the Curragh [last month].”

Race-to-race progress has been the story of Snowfall's season and trainer Aidan O'Brien also highlighted the extent to which she continues to grow and strengthen. Thursday's performance was that of a potential Arc winner and enough to push her clear of Adayar, the Derby winner, in the ante-post betting at a top price of 5-2. If her next race, possibly in the Prix Vermeille at Longchamp on September 12th, suggests further improvement, she could easily be nudging odds-on by October 3rd.


“She’s thriving at home and putting on weight so I was glad the races were coming up for her,” O’Brien said. “She’s very relaxed and quickens very well, and it doesn’t matter with ground with her.

“I was a little bit taken aback by her in the parade ring, how well she had done. She looked like a filly that was going to come on for the run, physically, so that’s a good sign when that starts happening at this time of the year. She’s obviously changing from a being a baby three-year-old into a mature three-year-old. It’s a lovely way to have her.

“If she’s going to the Arc, she’d run around the time of [Irish] Champions Weekend either at Leopardstown or Longchamp.”

Longchamp’s Arc Trials meeting, where Adayar is also expected to line up in the Prix Niel, seems the favourite at this stage, while Wonderful Tonight, who finished well beaten in Thursday’s race on much faster ground than she prefers, is also being steered towards the same card.

“I’m really happy with the run considering the conditions were not in her favour,” David Menuisier, Wonderful Tonight’s trainer, said, “so I think there was no harm done.

"We know when the ground gets softer she can easily improve by 10 lengths or more. When it comes to the crunch she can't find the gears, whereas on soft, she has another two gears." – Guardian