Snap up Snow Fairy at 16 to 1


JAN VERMEER tops the dozen runners who will line up for tomorrow’s Investec Derby, but his trainer, Aidan O’Brien, is hoping for some Classic encouragement at Epsom this afternoon with a three-pronged challenge on an Oaks that could ultimately provide Ryan Moore with a landmark success.

Britain’s champion jockey has yet to score a Classic victory, but the 26-year-old, who teams up with second-favourite Workforce in the Derby, can put that right on Snow Fairy in the fillies’ Classic.

Snow Fairy’s connections have already made a €24,000 bet in supplementing the filly into today’s race on the strength of a fine win at Goodwood when Snow Fairy overcame a bad stumble at the start to sail through for a three-length victory.

The decision to supplement her is a gamble on breeding, as she has already outstayed her pedigree.

But what is encouraging is trainer Ed Dunlop’s belief in taking that step, as he produced Ouija Board to win the Oaks five years ago.

“She travelled very well at Goodwood. I’m sure she will travel well up the hill and as long as you’re travelling up the hill you’ve got a chance,” Dunlop said. “But whether she stays a mile-and-a- half is in the lap of the gods.”

At 16 to 1 yesterday, that looks an each-way chance worth taking.

Fifteen runners line up, with Ballydoyle’s trio joined by Jim Bolger’s Akdarena, who catapulted herself to the forefront of the Oaks betting with an all-the-way, seven-length success against older horses in the Blue Wind Stakes at Naas last month.

“We will play things by ear, as she doesn’t have to make it. Just so long as the pace is decent,” Bolger reported.

He memorably won the Oaks with Jet Ski Lady in 1991, but his former pupil O’Brien is already a three-time Oaks winner with Shahtoush (1998), Imagine (2001) and Alexandrova (2006).

Ballydoyle’s 2010 team is apparently headed by Johnny Murtagh’s mount Remember When, a three-part sister to Dylan Thomas, who is still a maiden after three starts but who was beaten less than half a length in the Irish 1,000 Guineas last time out.

Awe Inspiring won a Cork maiden and is on the upgrade, while Cabaret was a beaten favourite in the Musidora but beaten less than six lengths by Aviate. The latter is joined by her stable companion Timepiece, as Henry Cecil chases a remarkable ninth win in the race.

Bolger has a link to that Musidora form with the runner-up, Gold Bubbles, but overall it could pay to ignore that York evidence in favour of Snow Fairy’s potential.

Some of the most proven of European articles line up for a vintage renewal of the Coronation Cup, including last year’s Irish Derby hero Fame And Glory.

O’Brien’s star, who chased home Sea The Stars here last year, returns on the back of an ultra-smooth, seven-length victory in the Tattersalls Gold Cup. The bare form of that might not be great but the manner was hugely impressive, and Fame And Glory can follow-up against the likes of dual-Oaks heroine Sariska, as well as Godolphin’s Cavalryman and the triple-Arc runner-up Youmazain.