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Dunlop Doncaster Double Part I - Perla Blanca and Sophie Smith triumph

Fri 13 July 2018

Sophie and Perla

The 2.15 at Doncaster on the 12th July 2018 is unlikely to be a race that Sophie Smith will forget in a hurry. On just her fifth ride under rules, Sophie delivered an exceptionally cool performance on her mother’s horse Perla Blanca, to win going away by three and a quarter lengths.

Held up out the back early on, Sophie made a daring move up the rail approaching the home turn, a manoeuvre which saved several lengths and brought her mount right into the thick of the action. She then angled Perla Blanca out to challenge, before horse and rider delivered a polished finish to pull comfortably clear of their rivals. It was a performance that suggested there is plenty more to come from both horse and rider.

It was evident that Perla relished every inch of the two miles and half a furlong journey, as she had threatened to do on previous outings over a mile and three-quarters. She is by Dalakhani, a brilliant Arc winner and strong stamina influence, out of a Holy Roman Emperor mare that stayed middle distances. Indeed, the family is an Aga Khan-shaped pedigree blessed with an awful lot of stamina, and of course quality.

The third dam Delsy foaled the great Darshaan, winner of the 1984 Prix du Jockey Club and later a leading sire, whilst her daughter Darara was also pretty good, winning the Gr.1 Prix Vermeille and going on to produce the wonderful triple Gr.1 winner Dar Re Mi. That mare is now creating something of a dynasty herself as the dam of So Mi Dar and La Tih Dar.

The second dam Dabiliya produced five winners, including the Listed winner Dabtiya, and the Listed-placed Dabaya. The long list of notable descendants of Dabtiya includes the Listed winner and Gr.1-placed Dibayani and the South African Gr.2 winner Crimson Blossom. Dabaya, for her part, would produce several decent winners, including Dabiroun, who was Listed and Gr.3-placed on the flat and would later find fame as the inaugural winner of the Fred Winter Juvenile hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival, ridden by a young female jockey at the time just starting to make her name – one Nina Carberry.

Having won from a rating of 60 yesterday, there would appear to be plenty of scope for progression at staying trips for Perla Blanca, and a race at Carlisle in early August has been mooted as a possible next target. A sweet, honest and genuine sort, she has come out of her race in good shape, and it was a thrill for all at La Grange to see Perla and her rider earn a thoroughly deserved first success. We send our warmest congratulations to Sophie and her family, and look forward to victory number two!

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