DESCRIBED BY Frankie Dettori as ‘the easiest Britich Classic winner he has ever ridden’, brilliant triple Oaks heroine Snowfall, trainer Aidan O’Brien revealed, had to be put down this week, dealing Ballydoyle the cruellest of blows on the cusp of the 2022 Flat season The classy 4yo, who ran out a devastating 16 length winner of the Oaks at Epsom under Dettori before going on to triumph in The Curragh and York equivalents, recently suffered a serious pelvis injury in her stable at Ballydoyle, according to O’Brien.
Despite the veterinary team’s best efforts to save her, the battle was ultimately lost. Snowfall finished sixth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe before running what proved to be her final race when third in the British Champions Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot in October.
With St Mark’s Basilica already retired, she would have been expected to lead the line for the trainer’s older horses in 2022. Moreover, as a daughter of Deep Impact out of a sister to the stable’s 2016 Arc winner Found, her value to Coolmore as a future broodmare was incalculable, with O’Brien indicating the plan had been to send her to be covered by St Mark’s Basilica in the spring.
“We are very sorry to report that our wonderful filly Snowfall sustained a serious injury a few weeks ago,” O’Brien said on Tuesday. “Despite the best care and attention from our veterinary team and from our team here in Ballydoyle, her condition seriously deteriorated a couple of days ago and we were left with no choice but to take the heartbreaking decision to have her put to sleep.
“She damaged her pelvis. She was fed at lunchtime by one of the lads and when he went back to her an hour later she was lame in the box. Our vet John Halley thinks she did the splits in the box and injured her pelvis, but obviously we don’t know exactly how it happened.
“We did everything we could for her but it wasn’t to be. She is a massive loss to everyone here, from a racing and breeding perspective; she was such a high class mare.” A winner just once from seven starts as a juvenile, Snowfall began her Classic campaign with a bang when running out a decisive winner of the Musidora Stakes under Ryan Moore, before posting her record breaking margin of victory in the Oaks under Dettori.
Moore was back aboard for her emphatic Irish and Yorkshire Oaks victories. Also speaking on Tuesday, Dettori paid a rich tribute to Snowfall. “I’ve ridden 21 British Classic winners in my life but I have never ridden an easier one than her in the Oaks,” he said.
“It was just unbelievable. I had the race won at Tattenham Corner. She was at her peak and just brilliant. She went through the field like a hot knife through butter. “In this day and age, I don’t think we will see a performance like that again. I don’t expect to ever win another Classic like that in my life.
“She’s a massive loss for everyone and for the future she had in front of her. It’s very sad for Aidan, everyone at Ballydoyle and her owners. I pass on my condolences to all of them.” Snowfall’s eight and a half length triumph in the Irish Oaks was the biggest winning margin in the race for more than 100 years, and she was also the first Japanese-bred winner of an Irish Classic. In all, she won five of her 14 starts and earned £885,696 in prize money.