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Aunt Pearl produces power-packed performance in Juvenile Fillies Turf

Aunt Pearl was a brilliant all-the-way winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland.

Brad Cox’s filly was the clear favourite to extend her unbeaten record to three following a Grade Two victory at the track a month ago and took a step up to the highest level in her stride with an awesome front-running display.

Florent Geroux’s mount made a smart start and quickly opened a clear gap over the rest of the field, with Wesley Ward’s Queen Mary and Prix Morny heroine Campanelle leading the chasing pack for much of the way under Frankie Dettori.

In truth, however, the remainder never looked like landing a blow on Aunt Pearl from the home turn, as she kept pouring it on and passed the post with plenty in hand.

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The Irish pair of Aidan O’Brien’s Mother Earth and Ken Condon’s Miss Amulet made late gains to finish second and third respectively, with Campanelle weakening into fourth.

Cox said: “She did a similar opening quarter to what she did in the Jessamine Stakes here – I felt pretty confident she would have some kick left and she certainly did.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt (she can improve) and if you dig into her pedigree a little bit it looks like she could maybe even go beyond a mile.

“She’s a super talented filly and I’m very proud of her.”

Geroux raised the possibility of a trip to Britain for Aunt Pearl in 2021, saying: “She’s phenomenal – she’s purely gifted.

“Her workouts in the morning have been exceptional. She goes so fast, but she comes back to me (settles).

“I hope we can go to England with her next year – that would be great.”

Syndicate spokesman Michael Dubb said: “We have bought a lot of horses overseas through Liz Crow and this was one of the fillies. We knew from the beginning that she was the best.

“Brad is a genius. He plots everything and has enormous attention to detail. In fact he just lives and breathes horses. I do think she is in a league of her own and wherever we go, it will be another great ride.

“She has so much natural speed that we decided to let her roll as there was no reason to take it away from her.

“We will talk to the partners and of course to Brad, we will leave it up to him to plot a campaign.”

Asked if a trip to the UK could be on the agenda, Dubb said: “I leave everything up to my trainer and I don’t want to start telling him where he should run.”

Of Campanelle, who was trying a mile for the first time, Dettori said: “I had to chase her out of the gate before restraining her and that meant giving the winner four lengths.

“I think she would get seven furlongs, and at least we tried.”

Ward plots direct route to Breeders’ Cup for Campanelle

Campanelle will head straight to the Breeders’ Cup after connections decided against a tilt at next weekend’s Cheveley Park Stakes.

Having provided Wesley Ward with a fourth success in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot, the daughter of Kodiac successfully graduated to Group One level in last month’s Prix Morny at Deauville – a third win in the race for the ebullient American after No Nay Never and Lady Aurelia.

A tilt at the Cheveley Park at Newmarket on Saturday week was under serious consideration, but Ward is keen to keep his powder dry for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf on November 6.

Ward said: “Campanelle seems in very good shape and she’s having her first breeze since Frankie (Dettori) steered her to success in France on Saturday.

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“We took her out of the Cheveley Park. I just felt I’d like to keep her under my thumb a little bit before going to the Breeders’ Cup.

“She’s done everything we’ve asked of her – she’s three from three. We were struggling to find a turf maiden for her, eventually we did at Gulfstream and it was only 20 days between that race and the Queen Mary.

“With the shipping as well, I would never usually run them back that quick, so for her to go and win at Royal Ascot showed she’s a super good filly and then she won much more impressively at Deauville after a good spacing since Ascot.

“I think this filly could be something really special and I don’t want to ship her over and back again before the Breeders’ Cup.

“By keeping her here, we have a good couple of months to make sure she’s at her very best.”

Campanelle is likely to spearhead a strong Breeders’ Cup team for Ward, with the showpiece meeting this year taking place at the trainer’s home track of Keeneland.

Golden Pal (right) was touched off by The Lir Jet at Royal Ascot
Golden Pal (right) was touched off by The Lir Jet at Royal Ascot (Julian Finney/PA)

Another leading contender for the team is Golden Pal, who was narrowly beaten by Michael Bell’s The Lir Jet in the Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot.

The Uncle Mo colt was in line for a tilt at the Nunthorpe at York, but he instead remained in America and has since bolted up in a Stakes race at Saratoga. The Juvenile Turf Sprint is his Breeders’ Cup target.

“He’ll breeze on Saturday as well. It was a shame we couldn’t come over for York, but he’s a super quick horse, as he showed in his last race at Saratoga,” Ward added.

“The Breeders’ Cup race for him is over five and a half (furlongs). He’d prefer five as he has so much speed, but it’s his home track and I still think he’s going to be tough (to beat).”