The Godolphin-raced Pearls returned to racing in brilliant order at Royal Randwick handing jockey Brenton Avdulla with his second winning ride on the card in her successful four-year-old debut.
Earlier in the day Avdulla was glowing after the smart win of the Chris Waller-trained Omei Sword in the Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes (1200m).
He made it a double on Warwick Stakes Day in race eight with a well-timed run on the John O’Shea-trained Pearls, the daughter of Exceed And Excel breaking a winning drought with a tight win in the $125,000 Group 3 Toy Show Quality (1300m).
Pearls hadn’t been in the winners’ stall since the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) in September last year at Randwick, but was too good for her rivals in the Toy Show ahead of bigger things to come this Sydney Spring Racing Carnival.
It was the Kris Lees-trained Knit ‘N’ Purl who led the field of fillies and mares around, taking up front running from the in-form Pioneering who was shooting for her fourth win on the trot.
Slots railed up into third but was over-racing while Avdulla had Pearls positioned nicely in fourth with Heavens Above a handy fifth on the fence.
Leading up to the straight the eventual Toy Show Quality winner moved up into third, her and the Waller-trained Pioneering battling it out down the straight.
Eventually Pearls hit the accelerator and drew away with 200m left to run, but hot on her heels finishing fast was the well-backed favourite Dixie Blossoms for trainer Ron Quinton.
As Dixie Blossoms got serious Pearls dug deep and clung on to post a neck win over the up-and-comer with Waller’s other runner Elle Lou getting up for third a further length away in the Toy Show Quality trifecta.
Off two lead-up Sydney trials Pearls held out the gallant favourite who tried but just couldn’t real in the winner over the distance, the winner flying home over the final 600m in good time.
Pearls had the perfect run in transit, both the first two over the line both looked to have come back well and were the ones to follow out of the race.
“It was a wonderful ride,” winning trainer O’Shea said, crediting Avdulla for getting his mare into a nice position early.
“It was a bit of a query to get into the right spot off the soft draw but he found a beautiful position and was able to track into the race lovely.”
Avdualla though turned the praise back on the Godolphin stable and the smart mare underneath him.
“Barrier two and riding for one of the leading powerhouses in the world makes it easy,” he said.
“They’ve got her in great order.
“She jumped, she travelled…I just had to be smart when I wanted to push the trigger.
“My filly was too good.”
O’Shea said Pearls would be at her best at around 1400m and nominated the lucrative $400,000 Group 2 Golden Pendant over that distance at Rosehill Gardens on September 24 as her next major target.
“Seven (furlongs) is about as far as she wants,” he said.
“A week before the Epsom (Handicap on October 1) there’s a 1400m race for mares that will suit her nicely and we’ll probably just give her one more run before that.”
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2016 Toy Show Quality Results & Finishing Order
Randwick Race 8 – 20/08/2016
|1||3||PEARLS||John O’Shea||Brenton Avdulla||–||2||54kg||$5.50|
|2||6||DIXIE BLOSSOMS||Ron Quinton||Tim Clark||0.2L||5||54kg||$3.60F|
|3||4||ELLE LOU||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||1.2L||7||54kg||$5|
|4||1||HEAVENS ABOVE||Tim Martin||Hugh Bowman||1.6L||6||59kg||$6|
|5||5||PIONEERING||Chris Waller||Tommy Berry||2.9L||4||54kg||$7.50|
|6||2||SLOTS||Grant Marshall||Lester Grace||4.2L||1||54.5kg||$26|
|7||8||KNIT ’N’ PURL||Kris Lees||Kerrin McEvoy||4.3L||3||54kg||$21|
|8||10||SATYA||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Christian Reith||4.6L||8||54kg||$9.50|
|9||9||MY AMAZING COOL (NZ)||Gerald Ryan||Jason Collett||7.2L||9||54kg||$61|
|–||7||FRILL SEEKING||Matthew Smith||Andrew Adkins (a)||–||0||–||–|