The stunning inaugural campaign of unbeaten mare Yonce will culminate in a tilt at the Gr.1 Queen of the Turf Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in three weeks’ time after yet another facile victory at Flemington.
The daughter of Proisir comfortably accounted for her opposition when winning the G.H. Mumm Mystic Journey (2000m) at the Melbourne premier track on Saturday to extend her winning sequence to six victories from six starts.
Jockey John Allan has ridden Yonce to five of her six wins and rode her conservatively in a small field on Saturday, ensuring he stayed off the rails and gave the $1.18 favourite an unimpeded run as she chased down leader Star Of Eden to score by a comfortable three-quarters of a length.
The four-year-old Kiwi import won her first race for trainers Ciaron Maher and David Eustace in mid December and has gone from strength to strength.
With both Maher and Eustace in Sydney on Saturday, Lucy Yeomans was left to deputise in Melbourne.
“It’s such a relief. To be fair to her she makes it look easy and it was never in doubt. Credit to the team at home for keeping a filly like this up for so long,” Yeomans said.
“Dave just called me and said depending on how she pulls up we will look to send her to the Queen Of The Turf in Sydney in three weeks. I’m sure she won’t do much between now and then.”
Winning jockey John Allen said the mare handled the step up to 2000m comfortably but would be suited in the Queen Of The Turf in a high-pressure mile.
“I wanted to stay off the fence early just to make sure to make a good thing of it and not getting hemmed in on the fence. As it transpired, box set behind the runner-up, she would have been a lot easier winner,” Allan said.
“Probably a high pressure mile you would imagine would be right up her sleeve now. The going is probably going to be soft up there (Sydney) and she showed last time that she handled that well, so if she pulls up and is 100 per cent going in there, I’m sure she will give it a big shout.”
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. – NZ Racing Desk
WINNER: Yonce (NZ) 2017
BREEDING: by Proisir (AUS) out of Ziva (AUS) by Zabeel
BREEDER: L de Souza & T Hartley
RACE: VRC Mystic Journey Stakes 2000m