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Star British fillies on course for Japanese Group 1 bid

High class British fillies Snow Fairy and Dancing Rain have arrived safely in Japan ahead of their dual bid to win one of the country's most prestigious races, the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup at Kyoto on November 13, writes Elliot Slater.

Last year Snow Fairy (winner of the 2010 Investec Oaks and Irish Oaks), stunned the locals when producing a brilliant turn of foot to leave top Japanese horses toiling in her wake in the race, winning by a facile four-lengths before going to stage a repeat performance in the Group 1 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin a month later. Ed Dunlop's four-year-old has been in fine form so far this term in Europe without managing to get her head in front, running with distinction in finishing runner-up in the Nassau Stakes and the Irish Champion Stakes, before filling third pace in both the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and the Qipco Champion Stakes. In winning last year's renewal of the Kyoto showcase event Snow Fairy became the first ever overseas winner of the coveted contest. People looking at the best horse racing betting odds will be wondering if she can make it a double.

Dunlop reports the filly to have taken the flight well and to be in good shape after loosening up on the Kyoto track on Monday morning. A formidable British challenge is completed by this year's Investec Oaks heroine Dancing Rain, who has since gone on to win the German Oaks and most recently proved too good for her rivals in the Qipco British Champion Fillies and Mares Stakes at Ascot in mid-October.

Although the flight to Japan appeared to take more out of Dancing Rain than it did Snow Fairy, Maureen Haggas, (wife of trainer William and daughter of the legendary Lester Piggott), reports that the Danehill Dancer filly has recovered well from her trip and after a light canter the three-year-old seems on good terms with herself.

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