Pearl Harbour wins debut

NZ HARNESS NEWS

Southland filly Pearl Harbour made a good fist of her debut in Auckland on Friday night, impressively winning a $25,000 Young Guns Fillies heat at Alexandra Park.

She had only been in the north with trainer Barry Purdon for a matter of weeks, and it was her first look at the right-handed track, but she handled it with aplomb.

Stable foreman Scott Phelan did the driving and says the daughter of Somebeachsomewhere has done nothing but impressive him since arriving.

“We’ve only had her for two or three weeks, but when she came up, she was ready to go.

“From what I’d seen down south, she looked promising, and her works been great since she arrived. She actually hadn’t been off the property since she got here until tonight.

“She really handled the track well and it can trip a few up the first time.

“She’s a pretty decent filly.”

Pearl Harbour was bred and developed by Katrina and John Price at Winton, who previously sent Democrat Party north to Purdon, that filly going on to win at Group 1 level for him.

Katrina Price says they’ve always held a high opinion of the filly and had to make a judgement call after she qualified in mid-December.

“Since Day 1 she has had a lot of ability.

“She was very ‘hot’ to start with so we just took our time with her and brought her along slowly.

“Her work at home had been as good as Democrat Party or Chicago Bull ever worked, so we knew we were on to something.

“Nathan Williamson came around and drove her at home and then at the workouts and was also suitably impressed.

“It was really just a decision of whether we send her to the paddock until next season or send her north to Barry.

“If you aren’t going to be competitive in the big races, there is no real incentive to race them at two under the rating system.

“They get penalised quite harshly.

“In the end it was a no-brainer and she was on the truck north.”

Giving the Prices further cause for celebration was the fact they bred the other juvenile winner on the card, Perfect Stride, a brother to Perth star Chicago Bull.

He, of course, was last year’s Christchurch yearling sale topper, drawing $190,000 from Sydney’s Emilio and Mary Rosati and is now trained by Ray Green.

“When someone spends that kind of money, you want them to have every possible success,” says Price.

“If he can be a fraction as good as Chicago Bull they’ll do alright, and it looks like that’s the case.

“He was a completely different type of foal to Pearl Harbour – he was a natural while she was a real ugly duckling.”

The Prices only bred seven foals that season, two of which have subsequently died from salmonella, so it’s a very impressive strike-rate to win two early juvenile races at the other end of the country.

“We try our best and the horses don’t lack for anything growing up.

“We’ve invested in mares and tried to go to the best stallions, which is always a good start.”

The Prices will offer three yearlings at next month’s Christchurch sale, including a three-quarter brother to Pearl Harbour, by Captaintreacherous.

Earlier in the programme, Purdon and Phelan combined to win with Mohs Em Down, a four-year-old who didn’t race until November but looks to have inherited plenty of ability from his mum, Group 1-placed mare Tatijana Bromac.

“He’s just taken a bit of time to mature,” said Phelan.

“He tries hard and, even though they went hard up front, it was still a good effort.

“It really suited him the way the race was run.”

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