Headgear to sharpen mare’s Cal Isuzu chances

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  • December 14, 2023
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By Paul Vettise, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Quality mare Pearl Of Alsace will sport a new look when she takes aim at the Gr.2 Cal Isuzu Stakes (1600m) at Te Rapa on Saturday.

Trainers Shaune Ritchie and Colm Murray will add headgear to the Sir Peter Vela-bred and owned daughter of Tavistock in the weight-for-age feature.

“She will be an interesting runner because she will have the blinkers on for the first time,” Ritchie said.

“We have been waiting for a little bit and coming back from 2000m to a mile, it’s the right time to introduce them.

“We believe they will sharpen her right up and they have done in trackwork so far.”

Pearl Of Alsace stepped up to a middle distance for the first time when she finished third in the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings and then crossed the Tasman to run fourth in the Gr.2 Matriarch Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.

“There’s just a little question mark on whether she’s experienced enough to run the 2000m out. They were both fantastic runs, but just didn’t round it off like she does at a mile,” Ritchie said.

With that in mind, Pearl Of Alsace will be restricted to the shorter trip for the time being with the Gr.1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) at Trentham on January 20 the aim.

“It’s set weights and penalties so she will be extremely well-weighted given her high rating (97) at the moment,” Ritchie said.

“It’s on a track where she has had a lot of success on, she seems to love that long straight and it’s a Group One of course and that’s the last hill for her to climb as she’s been Group One placed.

“That will be her main target and the Cal Isuzu should top her off nicely.”

Pearl Of Alsace is unbeaten in three appearances at Trentham, including victory in the Gr.3 Cuddle Stakes (1600m) in autumn.

“We did give some thought to the TAB Classic (Gr.1, 1600m) there last Saturday, but we felt staying closer to home might be the smarter way to go after coming back from Melbourne,” Ritchie said.

“She races at her best with a month between runs, so we’ll follow that profile for the summer and the autumn.”

Pearl Of Alsace’s fortunes will be guided on Saturday by Sam Weatherley, who was aboard the mare at Hastings two runs back.

“Sam did nothing wrong in the Livamol so he will retain the ride,” Ritchie said.

“It’s likely a drop in class on her last two runs, there’s a little bit of wiggle room for improvement before the Thorndon (Gr.1, 1600m), but on her current form she should be extremely hard to beat.”

Victory for Pearl Of Alsace will continue the stable’s run of feature race form following Mahrajaan’s win in the Gr.3 New Zealand Cup (3200m) and The Oaks Stud’s Nassak Diamond claiming the Jericho Cup (4600m) at Warrnambool.

“Mahrajaan needs firm ground so the Auckland Cup (Gr.2, 3200m) is the right race for him. He’ll probably run in the Avondale Cup (Gr.2, 2400m) as well and we’ll look around for an open mile before that,” Ritchie said.

“There’s not really a lot for Nassak Diamond at home so we’ll leave that up to Rick (Williams, The Oaks General Manager).” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

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