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Florida Pearl Memories
Mon, May 7th, 2012

On of the great chasers of the last two decades, Florida Pearl, has sadly died aged 20. The Irish National Stud released the following statement:

"We are saddened to inform you that on the evening of May 5, 2012, a decision was made on veterinary advice to euthanise Florida Pearl. The 20-year-old gelding, in residence at the Irish National Stud for five years, was diagnosed with a condition known as haemangisarcoma, a word deriving from 'malignant cancer of the blood vessels. It is a rare condition which swiftly affects many organs once it spreads from its primary focus - in this case it originated in the spleen. Florida Pearl was a firm favourite among visitors to the INS and earned his retirement after a career which contained Grade One wins in seven seasons. One of the greatest steeplechasers we have seen, his speed was also obvious in his Cheltenham Championship Bumper success. Our thanks and sympathies go to the O'Leary family and the Mullins family, who have many memories to treasure."

Willie Mullins trained Florida Pearl to 16 career wins under six different jockeys. James Nash was in the saddle for the initial Leopardstown bumper  win and it was Richard Dunwoody who guided Florida Pearl to Cheltenham Bumper and RSA Chase success. The horse later landing big races under Adrian Maguire, Paul Carberry , Barry Geraghty and in 2004 under Richard Johnson. Florida Pearl's 16 career wins are tabled below:

Date

Race

Course

Dist

Jockey

SP

08-Feb-04

Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup

Leopardstown

24f

R Johnson

5/1

18-Jan-04

Normans Grove Chase

Fairyhouse

17f

R Johnson

8/1

24-Apr-02

Punchestown Heineken Gold Cup Chase

Punchestown

24f

B J Geraghty

13/8f

04-Apr-02

Martell Cup Chase

Aintree

25f

B J Geraghty

5/2

26-Dec-01

Pertemps King George VI Chase

Kempton

24f

A Maguire

8/1

09-Dec-01

John Durkan Memorial Punchestown Chase

Punchestown

20f

P Carberry

5/1

04-Feb-01

Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup

Leopardstown

24f

R Johnson

5/4f

06-Feb-00

Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup

Leopardstown

24f

P Carberry

8/11f

23-Jan-00

Bax Global Ext. Handicap Chase

Leopardstown

19f

P Carberry

2/5f

06-Nov-99

James Nicholson Wine Merchant Champion Chase

Down Royal

25f

P Carberry

11/10f

07-Feb-99

Hennessy Cognac Gold Cup

Leopardstown

24f

R Dunwoody

8/15f

18-Mar-98

Royal & Sunalliance Chase

Cheltenham

25f

R Dunwoody

11/8f

08-Feb-98

Dr.P.J.Moriarty Memorial Novice Chase

Leopardstown

21f

R Dunwoody

8/11f

29-Dec-97

Farming Independent Beginners Chase

Leopardstown

19f

R Dunwoody

Evsf

12-Mar-97

Weatherbys Champion Bumper

Cheltenham

16f

R Dunwoody

6/1

26-Dec-96

Ballyfree (4 Y O) I.N.H. Flat Race

Leopardstown

16f

Mr J Nash

6/4f

Arguably Florida Pearl's greatest victory came in the  2001 King George VI Chase :

Florida Pearl was particularly effective around Leopardstown landing successive Hennessy Gold Cups between 1999-2001:

 

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