Miss Pearl a family affair

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  • April 11, 2024
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Joshua Smith, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk

Ascot Park trainer Tommy Beckett has had plenty of highlights in his three decades of training, but the pinnacle came a fortnight ago when Miss Pearl won at Riverton.

It wasn’t the status of the race that stood out for Beckett, but the emotion of seeing his 15-year-old granddaughter Rylee Beckett lead in the five-year-old mare following her victory at the Southland meeting.

Beckett said the pair have formed a great bond and seeing his granddaughter’s passion for the horse has revitalised his enthusiasm for racing.

“My granddaughter is deeply in love with the horse, and the horse loves her too, so that makes a difference,” Beckett said.

“She is the first horse Rylee has had anything to do with in her life. When she won at Riverton the owner said she better go down and lead her in and she was crying her eyes out.

“She has got her stablehand ticket and my grandson, who is 17, helps out as well. They have shown a great interest in the horse. It is great and we need more young people in the industry.”

Beckett has experienced a great ride with Miss Pearl of late, with the mare having placed in her prior two starts, including a runner-up performance in the $200,000 Southern Mile Final (1600m), which qualified her for Saturday’s $350,000 TAB Southern Alps Challenge (1600m) at Riccarton.

She heads into the race in winning form and Beckett is hoping Rylee can lead their mare back to the winner’s stall following Saturday’s contest.

“Rylee is leaving on Thursday with us. We are not allowed to leave without her,” Beckett said.

“She (Miss Pearl) went really well that day in the Southern Mile (final),” Beckett said. “I have always thought a lot of her, but she surprised me a wee bit (in the Southern Mile Final) and then she went to the races at Riverton and went well against the fillies and mares, so that was even better.

“She has eaten up and done everything right. We just hope that we get a bit of rain and by the sound of it we are going to get some.”

Beckett has won 80 races, including seven at stakes level, in his training career to date, three of which were recorded by Miss Pearl’s dam Miss Three Stars.

The daughter of Perfectly Ready won 11 races and more that $300,000 for Beckett, with her career highlights being victories in the Gr.3 Winter Cup (1600m) at Riccarton, and two editions of the Listed Riverton Cup (2147m), while she also placed in the Gr.3 Canterbury Gold Cup (2000m).

“Miss Three Stars was a very good horse,” Beckett said. “Her mother was Missy who was a really good mare too (winning seven races, including the Listed South Island Thoroughbred Breeders’ Stakes and runner-up in the Listed Winter Classic). It is a good family.”

Beckett is looking forward to racing for $350,000 this weekend and said the rich innovation race has been a tonic for South Island trainers.

“It is unbelievable what they have done,” he said. “It gives the South Island people a lot more money than what we usually race for. It has got people more interested in getting a galloper, especially to go over a mile.”

Beckett is hoping to press on with his mare following Saturday’s contest, with the ultimate goal being a return to Riccarton in the new season to try and replicate Miss Three Stars’ success in the Gr.3 Winter Cup (1600m).

“We will just see how she gets over this one, but her mother won the Winter Cup in 2016, so we are thinking a bit that way,” Beckett said.

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