Velvet Snow Faces 10 in Canada's Royal North

(from Woodbine release)
Velvet Snow, a 4-year-old daughter of Subordination, takes on 10 rivals in the $170,700 Royal North Handicap (Can-III), on the Civic Holiday Monday at Woodbine.

Owned by Frank DiGiulio and conditioned by Robert Tiller, Velvet Snow has posted two runner-up efforts in 2005, finishing a nose back of Cricket Wicket in the Zadracarta Stakes and a head behind Kabul in the Royal North prep on July 10.

Corey Fraser, aboard the Ontario-bred for all but one of her 12 lifetime starts, expects a big performance from the small filly in the six-furlong turf feature.

"She's run hard both times," said Fraser of the three-time winner and earner of $270,659. "She's a tiny horse with a great big heart."

Last year, in her first racing campaign, Velvet Snow won two races, including the 6 1/2-furlong Ontario Damsel over a firm turf on July 10. It was her second consecutive grass test, coming on the heels of a maiden-breaking score three weeks earlier at a flat mile.

The chestnut also finished fourth in the Royal North, had two seconds and added another trip to the winner's circle before finishing out of the money in the River Memories Stakes to close out her 3-year-old campaign.

"She blows me away every time I ride her," said Fraser, who gained his first career stakes win in the Ontario Damsel. "She gives you everything she's got."

The race has attracted U.S.-based Unbridled Sidney, undefeated in three turf races, who carries top weight of 122 pounds. Also entered are local speedster Nashinda, South African-bred Tara's Touch and Saint Etienne, an Irish-bred who won the Letsure Handicap at Newbury on June 21.

Saint Etienne is trained by Andrew Balding and ridden by Martin Dwyer, who combined to score with Phoenix Reach in the 2003 edition of the Pattison Canadian International.

$170,700 Royal North Handicap (Can-III), fillies & mares 3 & up, 6 furlongs)
PP / Horse / Trainer / Jockey/Weight
1 / First Quarter / Jim Day / Shane Ellis/116
2 / Unbridled Sidney / Ron Werner / Craig Perret/122
3 / Tara's Touch / Niall O'Callaghan / Robert Landry/119
4 / Nashinda / MacDonald Benson / David Clark/118
5 / Mocha Queen / Michael Lauer / Brice Blanc/119
6 / Brite Diamond / Graham Motion / Todd Kabel/111
7 / Huntingthetruth / John Cardella / Emile Ramsammy/113
8 / Pandora's Secret / Chantal Paquette / Emma-Jayne Wilson/108
9 / Royal Liverpool / Mike Mareina / Ray Sabourin/112
10 / Velvet Snow / Robert Tiller / Corey Fraser/115
11 / Saint Etienne / Andrew Balding / Martin Dwyer/111