Talented mare Pearl Of Alsace (Tavistock x Irion) extended her unbeaten run to five when she stepped up to stakes company with a narrow victory in the Gr.3 Wentwood Grange Cuddle Stakes (1600m) a Trentham.
The Shaune Ritchie and Colm Murray-trained four-year-old went into the Group Three feature off the back of four straight victories to open her career and took things to a new level with a performance that underlined just how strong her will to win is.
Given a lovely run in midfield by Ashvin Goindasamy, the daughter of Tavistock loomed into contention mid-stretch but immediately had a fight on her hands as Aromatic and Bad ‘n’ Bouj came with her.
Pearl Of Alsace dug deep and staved off both challengers to win by a nose and uphold the huge opinion Ritchie has of her.
“She is a fantastic mare. We keep raising the bar and she keeps climbing over it,” Ritchie said.
“If you go back through her form the horses behind her haven’t been that flash, but stepping up to a Cuddle Stakes after winning her maiden just four starts ago is a big ask and she has done it.
“You watch her trackwork at home and it is just exceptional as she gives you as much or as little as you ask of her and she is a delight to train.”
Ritchie will sit down and discuss the immediate plans for the mare with owner Sir Peter Vela and his racing manager, Garry Cossey, but is leaning towards giving her a short break.
“It’s hard to know what next as we don’t know where her level is,” he said.
“She has a big heart and although we will wait to see how she pulls up, I would be keen to give her a little break now as she had to fight hard today.
“She is racing up the ratings very quickly so we need to let her catch up with experience.”
Goindasamy was full of praise for his mount, who he rides regularly in trackwork as well.
“I’ve known how good a horse I’ve had underneath me since I started riding her in work,” he said.
“She has good potential as she is only a four-year-old and she will keep getting better and better.
“She is just so relaxed and coming to the turn she was off the bridle, but once I gave her a slap she just changed gears.
“I think she deserves a break now and she is going to be even better next season.”
Bred and raced by Pencarrow Stud’s Sir Peter Vela, Pearl Of Alsace is out of the stakes-placed Danroad mare Irion who is also the dam of unbeaten Zoustar two-year-old filly Zourian who took out the Gr.2 Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) at her last start.
Ritchie outlaid $260,000 to secure the Super Seth half-sister from the Pencarrow Stud draft at the New Zealand Bloodstock Yearling Sale at Karaka earlier this year. – NZ Racing Desk