Pearls Galore won the Group 1 Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes at Longines Irish Champions Weekend at Leopardstown, Ireland, on Saturday.
The daughter of the Irish National Stud’s Invincible Spirit ran out a three-length winner of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series ‘Win And You’re In’ contest, and now gets an entry into the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
It is a second Group 1 for County Tipperary trainer, Paddy Twomey, as the six-time winning Pearls Galore finally claimed a success at the top level.
“This is more her jazz, an ease in the ground – the best race of her life was this race last year (when finishing runner-up),” Twomey said. “Even before the race, she was down there by the pre-parade ring and was throwing herself around and I knew she was in good form. She has a lot of speed – she has a lot of ability. She has an ability to travel at a high pace – that’s her true running there and I’m delighted for her.”
The successful rider, Billy Lee, who currently sits second on the Irish Champion Flat Jockeys table for 2022, said:
“She picked up well and kept galloping up to the line. She just picked up and I was quite surprised I won by three-lengths in the end – but she kept galloping away and she galloped them into the ground. This mare has been brilliant to me – she has won everything for me. I’m delighted for her to get a Group 1. She really deserved it and got it now.”
Previously a one-mile Group 2 winner at The Curragh, Ireland, her best performances have arguably been in defeat. She was a neck second behind No Speak Alexander in this race last season and finished second in the Prix de la Foret in France.
Successful trainer Paddy Twomey was unable to outline a plan for the winner, admitting that achieving a Group 1 success was the ultimate plan. With that now achieved, the five-year-old may be destined for the breeding paddock.
This afternoon she beat Saffron Beach, winner of the Group 1 Prix de Rothschild at Deauville on her most recent start. Pearls Galore made little impression when fifth in that race last time out, a race in which today’s third-placer Tenebrism finished runner-up by two-and-a-half lengths.
The disappointment of Saturday’s Group 1 was Homeless Songs, trained by former Belmont Stakes-winning handler Dermot Weld. The highly impressive winner of the Tattersalls Irish 1000 Guineas at The Curragh last May, the bay daughter of Frankel could only manage fourth place today, five-and-a-half lengths behind the Billy Lee-ridden winner.
In another Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series ‘Win And You’re In’ race, the Coolmore-bred and owned daughter of Deep Impact, Auguste Rodin, was a length-and-a-half victor at the wire for top Irish handler Aidan O’Brien.
Ridden by Ballydoyle’s main rider, Ryan Moore, the July Naas winner beat Caroline Street, conditioned by the winning handler’s son, Joseph. The third-place getter Adler was trained by O’Brien’s younger son Donnacha, and carried the colours of Aidan’s wife, Annmarie.
Auguste Rodin, out of the daughter of Galileo, Rhododendron, may now be aimed at the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland.