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Sophie Produces a Perla on Blanca!

Wed 29 May 2019

Sophie Smith pulled another rabbit out of a hat with a superb ride on Perla Blanca in the mile and five furlong Lady Amateur Riders' Handicap at Ayr yesterday. The success provided Sophie with her fourth career victory and completed a remarkale turnaround in fortunes for Perla, whose racing career hung in the balance just a couple of starts ago.
Having been sourced from Marcus Tregoning's yard after her three year-old campaign, Perla Blanca got her career with us off to a super start when second in this corresponding race last season, before striding away with another amateur riders contest at Doncaster in great style.
Difficulties were to follow however, as an aversion to the stalls which had lain dormant for some time resurfaced, resulting in Perla refusing to load at Carlisle and Newbury - misdemeanours which left her racing career in the balance.
At this point we had to turn to the expert help of Craig and Gary Witheford whose efforts, combined with the tireless work of the team at home, have resulted in Perla overcoming her fear of the starting stalls and resuming her career. 
The resumption was tentative at first, as she was beaten a long way on her initial return to racing at Lingfield last October, but then showed signs that her enthusiasm remained when finishing fourth on her final start of last season at Newbury.
Looking ahead to the new season however, there was no guarantee that a five-year-old mare with a history of stalls trouble and a few injury issues would take another season of training. The Boss has had to exercise extreme patience in order to get Perla back firing on all cylinders, and yesterday's superb victory was the culmination of many month's effort and a great reward for the whole team.

Breaking from stall five, Sophie was alive to a posible lack of pace and was able to slot Perla into a stalking midfield position on the rail. She stood her ground on the run to the first turn, and ended up ideally positioned in cover, but without allowing the readers too much rope. They maintained this position until turning for home, at which point Sophie angled out for a little racing room.

Biding her time up the straight, Sophie began to ask Perla for her effort three furlongs from home, and ranged up on the outside of Shine Baby Shine deep inside the final furlong. Both horses stuck their necks out and battled hard to the line, but Perla Blanca was always just getting on top and gained the verdict by a neck at the line.

The victory was Sophie's fourth under rules and, as she referenced in a television interview after the race, she now has her sights set on getting her apprentice licence at the end of the year. As for Perla, we have to hope the handicapper is not too punitive and she can continue to be competitive in similar races as the year develops.
We send our warmest congratulations to Kate Smith, Sophie's mum and in whose colours Perla races, and the whole Smith family. We must also thank all the staff in the yard for their continued hard work, and give honourable mentions to Scott and Cerys who made the long journey up to Ayr to supervise Perla's yesterday.


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