Class Prevails with Pearl Of Alsace (NZ)

Despite looking far from comfortable in the Heavy9 track conditions, Pencarrow’s rising star mare Pearl Of Alsace (NZ) (Tavistock) dug deep to collect the sixth win of her eight-start career in Friday’s $50,000 Fluid Power Distributors Mile (1600m) at Te Rapa.

At this time last year, Pearl Of Alsace was unraced. She made her debut in November and proceeded to win all of her first five races in a row, including the Group Three Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham. Her breakthrough season came to a close with an unlucky fourth in the Group One New Zealand Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes (1600m).

Pearl Of Alsace resumed with an eye-catching second at Ruakaka on September 9, where her last 800, 400, 600 and 200 metres were the fastest of the entire Ruakaka meeting.

It was a different story at Te Rapa on Friday, where the testing track conditions blunted Pearl Of Alsace’s scintillating acceleration.

But she still made a big move from last, sweeping to the lead out wide on the track. Amusez Moi (Dalghar) went with her and pushed her hard through the last 200 metres, even sticking her head in front in the closing stages. But Pearl Of Alsace refused to be defeated and found just enough to win by a nose.

Trained by Shaune Ritchie and Colm Murray, Pearl Of Alsace has now had eight starts for six wins, a second and $181,590 in prize-money.

“What a wonderful mare she is, and what a journey she is taking us all on,” Shaune Ritchie Racing posted on Facebook. “Thank you to Michael McNab for getting her across the line in front. Congratulations to Sir Peter Vela and Pencarrow Stud.”

Bred by Pencarrow Thoroughbreds Ltd and raced by Sir Peter Vela, Pearl Of Alsace is one of three foals to race out of emerging star Pencarrow broodmare Irion (NZ) (Danroad). All of Irion’s three runners have been winners, and remarkably two of them have won at stakes level this year. Zourion (NZ) (Zoustar) captured the Group Two Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) in February.

Irion herself was a quality performer in the Pencarrow colours, winning four races and placing in the Group Two Rich Hill Mile (1600m) as well as the Group Three Cuddle Stakes (1600m).