Cranbourne trainer Stuart Webb is looking towards the upcoming Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival with a new-found enthusiasm after his star filly Yosei posted her third Group 1 win last weekend when stealing the Tattersall’s Tiara title from raging favourite Beaded.
In a brave performance from the daughter of Invincible Spirit, Yosei and winning jockey Michelle Payne were able to run down and hold off Peter Snowden’s Doomben 10,000 winning mare Beaded to score a narrow victory in the final elite level race of the season – the $500,000 Group 1 Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) – last Saturday.
The victory was a huge form turnaround from Yosei, winner of the 2010 AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes and Thousand Guineas, who hadn’t been able to finish better than sixth in her four runs after her Guineas success last October.
At her most recent run before the Tattersall’s Tiara, Yosei was easily beaten by Hurtle Myrtle when finishing 14th in the Group 2 Dane Ripper Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm on June 4.
While the punters had shied away from Yosei in the Tatt’s Tiara, the eventual winner going out as a $15 outsider, Webb said he never doubted that she had the ability to do what she did and that patience and timing were the key to her win.
After the spring Yosei underwent surgery to remove a bone chip in her knee and since returning to work Webb had the Tatt’s Tiara as her ‘Grand Final’ target.
“She worked brilliantly on Tuesday morning and we added blinkers just to sharpen her up a bit for the 1400 metres,” Webb said of his plan to get Yosei to peak at the perfect time.
“The filly had to have a knee operation after the spring and she’s put in on the day when it counted.”
Beaded was gallant in defeat, the $1.95 favourite fighting it out until the final stride when Yosei was able to win by a half-head, while the Michael Moroney-trained Born To Rock ($31) finished off the trifecta crossing just a further half-length back in third in a slashing run.
With due credit to the winning filly, it was saluting hoop Payne who stole much of the limelight for her masterful Tattersall’s Tiara ride.
“The runs just kept coming everywhere in the straight and I was confident she would give me a good finish at the 200 metres,” Payne said after the Tatt’s Tiara win.
“But I could see it was Beaded I was chasing so it was going to be a tough fight.
“She’s an amazing filly.
“It was a dream come true.”
Saturday was the 11th time Payne had partnered with Yosei, the pair previously combining for both of the filly’s earlier elite level wins.
Webb was also quick to credit Payne and said having her back on Yosei, the horse having been ridden by Mark Zahra and Jason Maskiell respectively for her two first-up runs this year, was a major contributor to the win.
“Michelle gets on really well with her and I started to think at the home turn that she was going to be in the finish,” Webb said.
“I knew once she did get a clear go she would really hit the line.
“That’s my third Group 1 win and they’ve all been with this filly.
“It was a terrific ride from Michelle and everything went to plan.”
Payne, who only resumed racing after fracturing a bone in her neck back in February on June 2, has now ridden seven winners since getting back in the saddle – Yosei handing her her fourth Group 1 win as a rider.
“I won the (2009) Toorak Handicap on Allez Wonder for Bart (Cummings) but to win three on her (Yosei) is unbelievable,” Payne said.
More thoroughbred majors are now on the horizon for Yosei, Webb naming the $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day, October 29, as the main spring goal for her.
Webb will also throw in a nomination for Yosei in the prestigious weight-for-age $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), running at Moonee Valley on October 22, but said the Myer Classic against her own sex was the more achievable aim.