Brilliant filly Snowfall (8/15f) won the Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks at York, England, on Thursday, as the three-year-old completed the Oaks treble having previously taken the Cazoo Oaks at Epsom and the Juddmonte Irish Oaks at The Curragh.
The daughter of Deep Impact was facing older opposition today, as the Yorkshire Oaks is an all-age contest. Despite the challenge, she put up another classy performance, becoming the first filly since the great Enable four years ago to complete the treble of Group 1 Oaks 1 races.
A winner of the Cazoo Oaks at Epsom in June by an incredible 16 lengths, the Aidan O’Brien-trained filly recorded an eight and a half length success at The Curragh in the premier fillies’ classic in Ireland.
This afternoon, the seven-runner field included two of her stable mates, Divinely and La Joconde, both of which Snowfall had beaten in both the Irish and English Oaks. The former, a daughter of Galileo, was runner-up to the filly out of Best In The World last time in Ireland, while Frankel’s daughter La Joconde was sixth in the same race.
La Joconde cut out the running Thursday on the Knavesmire in York, under jockey Hollie Doyle, with Wayne Lordan on Divinely close on her hoofs in the one mile four furlong contest.
Ryan Moore, on the Coolmore partners-owned odds-on favourite bided his time towards the rear of the field until entering the home stretch. With La Joconde setting a solid pace up front, Snowfall moved effortlessly into the lead half way down the home stretch.
The English-born rider only had to use hands and heels as Snowfall smoothly went by her rivals, quickly leaving them trailing in her wake, as she recorded a four-length victory and collected the winning purse of $226,840.
“She was very impressive,” Moore told ITV Racing, before adding “she has improved from last month. She handles all ground and she gets a mile and a half well.”
The four-year-old Albaflora (16/1), a daughter of Muhaarar, took the runner-up spot by two and three-quarter lengths, ahead of the brave early pacesetter, La Jaconde (50/1) who passed the wire in third place.
Another four-year-old, Wonderful Tonight, a dual Group 1 winner last October in the Qatar Prix de Royallieu at Longchamp and the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes at Ascot respectively, raced ahead of Snowfall until the turn for home.
The David Menuisier-conditioned daughter of Le Havre never seriously challenged Snowfall in the latter stages of the contest, however, eventually finishing a disappointing fourth, eight and a half lengths behind the Irish-trained winner.
Loving Dream, Divinely and Eshaada were the final three finishers in the seven-filly race.
The race-winning handler Aidan O’Brien was delighted with another highly impressive Group 1 performance from Snowfall.
“She’s a lovely filly,” the County Wexford-born Ballydoyle trainer admitted to host broadcaster ITV Racing. “She has always done everything very well and quickens very well. She is going to be really ready for the autumn.”
Discussing her disappointing juvenile efforts last season, where she only won a maiden from seven starts, O’Brien explained:
“We always thought she was good but obviously everything last year was a bit of a mess (with Covid-19) and they were all rushed a bit. She was probably rushed a bit and that didn’t suit here. She matured really well over the winter. She’s obviously by Deep Impact out of a Galileo mare, so she was always going to get better.”
Regarding future plans for the high-class filly, the Irishman conceded:
“She could take in another run. Physically she’s doing well and would be very happy to take in another run, I’d say. It will depend on what the lads (Coolmore owners) want to do whether they want to go to Arc trials day (at Longchamp) and then go on to the Arc (Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on 3 October 2021), or go straight there.”
Bookmakers reacted swiftly to Snowfall’s win on Thursday, making her ante-post favourite for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in early October.
Photo: The Curragh Racecourse (@curraghrace)