Yosei Ready for Winter Stakes Payne


Yosei will look for a return to form with jockey Michelle Payne in the Group 1 Winter Stakes

Cranbourne-based horseman Stuart Webb is convinced his dual Group 1 winning filly Yosei can return to form at Eagle Farm this Saturday in time to snare the final elite level race of the season and believes jockey Michelle Payne could be the key to Winter Stakes’ success.

Saturday’s $500,000 Group 1 Winter Stakes (1400m), this year registered as the Tattersall’s Tiara, will be the third-up run for Invincible Spirit filly Yosei who has failed to impress on the track since her smart two length victory in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield last spring.

In her two top level targets after the Thousand Guineas, Yosei finished dead last to Sacred Choice in the Myer Classic (1600m) and 10th to winner Brazilian Pulse in the Crown Oaks (2500m) at Flemington, the horse failing to let down in the wet conditions.

Prior to the Thousand Guineas, Yosei won her maiden Group 1 in April last year in a narrow track triumph over Skilled in the AJC Sire’s Produce Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.

Webb bought Yosei back in May this year and in her first-up run she ran a credible sixth, beaten two and a half lengths by Dubleanny in the Listed Henry Bucks Straight Six (1200m) at Flemington.

Her last start was less promising, however, Yosei running 14th behind runaway winner and fellow Tattersall’s Tiara hopeful Hurtle Myrtle in the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 4.

Mark Zahra and Jason Maskiell were aboard for Yosei’s opening two runs this preparation, but in a bid to get the filly back to her best Webb has engaged the services of Michelle Payne for Saturday.

Payne has ridden Yosei for 10 of her 14 career starts to date, including her Sires Produce and Thousand Guineas wins, and has been back riding for just three weeks after an injury-enforced four month break after suffering neck fractures from a fall at Caulfield.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Payne said of reuniting with Yosei.

“This Saturday looks like it will be her best run this preparation.

“She did a terrific job to finish as close as she did first-up down the straight (at Flemington) carrying 56kg against the older horses.

“Then second-up (in the Dane Ripper) she went all right, she did what we expected her to do.”

Tattersall’s Tiara favourite will be Peter Snowden’s Group 1 Doomben 10,000 champion Beaded, the classy Lonhro mare coming off a brave second behind Sincero in the $1 million Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).

Although optimistic about Yosei’s chances of adding a third Group 1 win to her record with a Tiara upset, Payne also knows that Beaded will take some beating.

“It will be hard to beat Beaded unless she has an off day,” Payne admitted.

“She’s such a good mare.

“Yosei has a good record against her own age and we’re just hoping really.”