Brittain also ended up with an unlikely ally in Come On The Blues, a gelding at his Newmarket yard who Pebbles had a great affinity for, and vice versa. The pair became inseparable, even flying out together to the USA.
Come On The Blues had played his part by the time the $2 million Breeders’ Cup race got under way. Anchored in rear on the rail for much of the way, from an unfavourably wide draw, Pebbles showed fantastic acceleration to sweep ahead in the straight under Pat Eddery before repelling the late challenge of globetrotting Strawberry Road.
The ferocious early pace set by Teleprompter, winner of the Arlington Million, laid the foundations for “England’s super filly”, as the commentator called her, to shatter the course record by more than a second. The other also-rans included Lashkari, the title holder, plus Greinton, a big hope for the home team, and a familiar foe in Palace Music. No British horse had ever scooped such a colossal prize – the winning purse was $900,000 (£630,000) – although Sheikh Mohammed, her owner, had paid $240,000 to add her to the line-up. It proved to be her final race.
Pebbles was born at Marcos Lemos’s Warren Hill Stud in Newmarket on February 27, 1981. She weighed 110lb and was up on her feet, showing plenty of character, within an hour. The progeny of her sire, Sharpen Up, were often blessed with plenty of speed, and her dam, La Dolce, had finished fifth in the 1979 Oaks.
Lemos sent Pebbles into training with Brittain, who was based a mile and a half down the road. A natural athlete and flashy worker, early highlights included victories at Newbury and Newmarket, plus a near-miss in the Cheveley Park Stakes, which established her as being among the leading two-year-olds of 1983.