Pearls Galore in a class of her own in Matron Stakes victory on Champions Weekend

The talented filly hardly saw another rival

Saturday, September 10, 2022

Pearls Galore bounced back from a heartbreaking defeat 12 months ago to finally win the Coolmore America ‘Justify’ Matron Stakes at Leopardstown, writes Jack Lacey-Hatton.

In the second Group One contest on the first day of Longines Irish Champions Weekend, Paddy Twomey’s filly produced a dominant display over the one-mile trip to lead throughout.

The 16-1 shot was only beaten at the death by No Speak Alexander in the same race last year but there was no close finish this time, with Jane Chapple-Hyam’s Saffron Beach a distant second.

The win also got Billy Lee on the scoresheet for the first time this weekend as he goes head-to-head with Colin Keane in the race to be crowned Champion Jockey.

Pearls Galore has also earned the chance to go to the Breeders’ Cup in Keeneland later this year.

Aidan O’Brien’s pre-race favourite Tenebrism was third, while the much-fancied Homeless Songs for Dermot Weld, an impressive winner of the Irish 1000 Guineas in May, had to settle for fourth.

Twomey said Pearls Galore’s superb display justified the first-time use of cheekpieces.

“She loves this track,” he said. “Her best run was here last year in this race and I said to Billy (Lee) 'cheekpieces are on, so be plenty positive, if they want to win it, make them win it'.

“She's tough, you could see from Billy's body language that he was confident - I'm delighted.

“France (her last outing) went wrong, you can draw a line through that, this is more her jazz. She's never done much wrong, I would've hated the run in France being the one she was judged on, ultimately.

“She’s the ability to travel at a high pace and burn off horses. That’s her true running there and I’m delighted for her.”

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