Invincible Spirit's Pearls Galore Makes All For Matron Glory

Pearls Galore Getty Images


Second in Leopardstown's G1 Coolmore America Justify Matron S. when just running out of runway in the one-mile contest last term, Paddy Twomey trainee Pearls Galore (Fr) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}–Pearl Banks {GB}, by Pivotal {GB}) left nothing to chance in this year's renewal back at the Foxrock venue and led every step of the way this time around to secure her first victory at the highest level. The Matron victory also booked Pearls Galore's ticket to the GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland in November.

Haras de Saint Pair's consistent 5-year-old mare had followed up last year's reversal with a second in ParisLongchamp's G1 Prix de la Foret before bringing the curtain down on 2021 with a close-up sixth in Del Mar's GI Breeders' Cup Mile. Back in tune when annexing April's Listed Heritage S. over this course and distance on seasonal return, she added to that with a narrow score in the Curragh's G2 Lanwades Stud S. the following month, but was out of luck when second in July's G2 Minstrel S. back at the Co. Kildare track and fifth behind Saffron Beach (Ire) (New Bay {GB}) and Tenebrism (Caracaggio) in Deauville's Aug. 2 G1 Prix Rothschild last time.

Sharply into stride to set the tone from flagfall, the 16-1 chance was bustled along at the top of the straight and maintained a relentless tempo under a drive inside the final quarter mile to exact revenge on her Rothschild opponents in style, hitting the line with a three-length advantage.

“The best race of her life was this race last year, she's been in good form and I said to Billy [Lee] we'd put the cheekpieces on her,” explained Twomey. “She's five years old and does what she has to do. It didn't work out for her in France [last time] where the ground was quick and it was a straight mile. This is more her jazz, ease in the ground and a turning mile. She was walking around the pre-parade ring and throwing herself around the place and I knew she was in good form. I told Billy, with the cheekpieces on, I don't think we should be taking her back and it worked. She has the ability to travel at a high pace and burn off horses. That's her true running there and I'm delighted for her.”

Ballingarry, Co. Limerick, native Lee added, “She has been very good to me. The race went nicely and, when she bounced from the gates well, I was happy to let her lead the way. She likes it here, she likes the turning mile and, when I asked her in the straight, she picked up well. She's all heart and kept galloping all the way to the line. I thought for a few strides at the top of the straight Hollie Doyle [aboard Saffron Beach] might have had me, but my one picked up again. I was quite surprised we won by three lengths, but she just kept galloping away and galloped them into the ground. These home Group 1s are very hard to win and I'm delighted she's won her Group 1. Her career deserved it and she has it now.”

Pearls Galore, who becomes the 21st Group 1 scorer for her sire (by Green Desert), is the fifth of seven foals and one of five winners from as many runners produced by G3 Dirk Elbers-Preis victrix Pearl Banks (GB) (Pivotal {GB}), herself a daughter of G1 Prix Vermeille heroine Pearly Shells (GB) (Efisio {GB}). Pearly Shells, kin to GI Hollywood Turf Cup-winning sire Frenchpark (GB) (Fools Holme), is also the dam of last term's G2 Prix Greffulhe runner-up Smile Makers (Fr) (Kendargent {Fr}) and Listed Prix Panacee victrix Pearls Or Passion (Fr) (Monsun {Ger}), herself the dam of G3 Prix de Royaumont winner Pelligrina (Ire) (Soldier Hollow {GB}) and Listed Floodlit S. placegetter Podemos (Ger) (Shamardal). The May-foaled homebred bay is a half-sister to G3 Grosser Preis der Mehl-Mulhens-Stiftung victrix Lucky Lycra (Ire) (Olympic Glory {Ire}), Listed Prix des Lilas winner Pearly Steph (Fr) (Oasis Dream {GB}) and the hitherto unraced 2-year-old colt L'Ambassadeur (GB) (Shalaa {Ire}). Pearly Steph, in turn, is the dam of this year's G3 Prix Minerve victrix Eternal Pearl (GB) (Frankel {GB}) and the family also features multiple Group 1-winning sires St Mark's Basilica (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) and Magna Grecia (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}).

Saturday, Leopardstown, Ireland
COOLMORE AMERICA 'JUSTIFY' MATRON S.-G1, €400,000, Leopardstown, 9-10, 3yo/up, f/m, 8fT, 1:44.36, sf.
1–PEARLS GALORE (FR), 133, m, 5, by Invincible Spirit (Ire)
1st Dam: Pearl Banks (GB) (GSW-Ger & SW-Fr, $127,537), by Pivotal (GB)
2nd Dam: Pearly Shells (GB), by Efisio (GB)
3rd Dam: Piffle (GB), by Shirley Heights (GB)
1ST GROUP 1 WIN. O/B-SCEA Haras de Saint Pair du Mont (FR); T-Paddy Twomey; J-Billy Lee. €240,000. Lifetime Record: G1SP-Fr, 17-7-4-1, $697,983. *1/2 to Lucky Lycra (Ire) (Olympic Glory {Ire}), GSW-Ger & SW-Fr; and Pearly Steph (Fr) (Oasis Dream {GB}), SW-Fr. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree. Click for the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Saffron Beach (Ire), 133, f, 4, New Bay (GB)–Falling Petals (Ire), by Raven's Pass. (55,000gns Wlg '18 TATFOA). O-Mrs B V Sangster, J Wigan & O Sangster; B-China Horse Club International Ltd (IRE); T-Jane Chapple-Hyam. €80,000.
3–Tenebrism, 128, f, 3, Caravaggio–Immortal Verse (Ire), by Pivotal (GB). O-Westerberg, Coolmore & Merriebelle Stables; B-Merriebelle Stables, Orpendale, Chelston & Wynatt (KY); T-Aidan O'Brien. €40,000.
Margins: 3, 1, 1HF. Odds: 16.00, 2.00, 7.50.
Also Ran: Homeless Songs (Ire), Honey Girl (GB), Affogato (Ire), Star Girls Aalmal (Ire), Concert Hall (Ire), Lights On (GB). Scratched: Agartha (Ire), Panama Red (Ire).


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