Perfect Pearl Of Alsace (NZ) Picks Up Group Three

Undefeated mare Pearl Of Alsace (NZ) (Tavistock) is the latest flagbearer for the Pencarrow Racing team, and on Saturday she added some blacktype to her perfect record.

The exciting four-year-old scored a last-gasp win in the $100,000 Group Three Wentwood Grange Cuddle Stakes (1600m) at Trentham, extending her unblemished record to five wins from five starts. Pearl Of Alsace has now earned $128,590 in prize-money.

The Cuddle Stakes was her toughest test to date, both in terms of the quality of her opposition and the desperate battle she faced down the long Trentham straight. But she proved that she was well and truly up to the task.

After enjoying a comfortable run in midfield, Pearl Of Alsace was angled into the clear at the home turn by jockey Ashvin Goindasamy. She quickened and soon moved into contention, but she was matched every step of the way by Aromatic (NZ) (Sacred Falls) and Bad ‘n’ Bouj (Deep Field).

She looked beaten more than once in the final 200 metres, but somehow Pearl Of Alsace kept pulling out that little bit more, and by the time that trio of mares reached the finish line, Pearl Of Alsace was in front by a nose.

“I’ve known how good a horse I’ve had underneath me since I started riding her in work,” Goindasamy said. “She has good potential. 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 by Pencarrow Thoroughbreds Ltd and raced by Sir Peter Vela, Pearl Of Alsace is trained at Cambridge by Shaune Ritchie and Colm Murray.

“She is a fantastic mare – we keep raising the bar, and she keeps climbing over it,” Ritchie said.

“You’ve got to love her. Stepping up to a Cuddle Stakes after starting this campaign in maiden company is a tough ask for any horse – especially with three big trips down to Trentham along the way – but she has done it.

“You watch her trackwork at home and it is just exceptional. She gives you as much or as little as you ask of her and she is a delight to train. We’re very lucky to have a horse as well-bred as she is.

“It’s hard to know what to do next, because we don’t know where her level is. But she has a big heart and knows where the finish line is. There’s a bit of an aura around a horse that’s unbeaten, and we’d like to give her every opportunity to stay that way.

“She is racing up the ratings very quickly, so we need to let her catch up with experience.”

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 within the last month. Her two-year-old daughter Zourion (NZ) (Zoustar) is also unbeaten, and she captured the Group Two Matamata Breeders’ Stakes (1200m) three weeks ago.

Ritchie is clearly a big believer in the progeny of Irion. He went to Karaka in January of this year and paid $260,000 to buy her yearling filly by Super Seth, who was offered by Pencarrow as Lot 253 in Book 1.

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 2015 edition of the Cuddle Stakes.