Quality mare Yonce (NZ) (Proisir) scored a richly-deserved Group Three victory when landing the Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield on Saturday for trainer Ciaron Maher.
The highly-talented daughter of Proisir rewarded her connections faith with her first stakes victory at her third start this campaign, having been off the scene for 20 months due to a tendon strain.
The now six-year-old mare won six of her first seven starts, with her only defeat in her maiden campaign a brave fourth in the Gr.1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m).
Maher had built the mare back to full fitness with solid runs in the Listed Christmas Stakes (1200m) and a close-up fifth placing in the Listed John Dillon Stakes (1400m) prior to Saturday’s triumph.
Jockey John Allen was back in the saddle and elected to take luck out of the equation, leading throughout on the game mare, kicking away to score by three-quarters of a length from Foxy Cleopatra (American Pharoah) and Young Werther (NZ) (Tavistock).
“First it is a credit to the owners,” Maher said. “She had a little injury and she could have gone to stud. She had a pretty good record but I said there is still a lot more to offer and they were patient.
“She promised so much. She went all the way through to be a Group One performer basically in one preparation.
“It is great to have her back and Johnny (Allen) knows her so well. There wasn’t a lot of speed and she jumped well. I was a little bit nervous when I did see him in front because she has been a little bit aggressive this preparation, but he took luck out of it and it was full credit to him.”
Maher said the Queen Of The Turf Stakes was potentially again on the radar, but he quipped he’d love another wildcard entry for the A$4 million All-Star Mile (1600m), which was handed to stablemates Pride Of Jenni (Pride Of Dubai) and Jimmysstar (NZ) (Per Incanto).
“I’d love to get her up there (to Sydney, for the Queen Of The Turf). I think she’d appreciate it. She ran so well at the end of a long first prep.
“We’ll see if Matty (Racing Victoria’s general manager of racing Matt Welsh) is around and we can get another Wildcard.
“She has got a lot of options now and it is just great to have her back in form.”
Out of the Zabeel mare Ziva, Yonce was passed in as a yearling for $30,000 during the New Zealand Bloodstock Book 2 Sale from the Woburn Farm draft.
She was later purchased by Cambridge trainer Ross McCarroll, for whom she finished third in two trials and caught the eye of prominent Australian owner Ozzie Kheir.
Kheir bought an interest in the Proisir mare, but McCarroll and his fellow Kiwi owners – Shane McAlister, Stephen Kneebone and Lyn McMullan – remain in the ownership.