Stuart Webb’s triple Group 1 winner Yosei will continue another, hopefully, successful campaign at Flemington Racecourse this Saturday when she takes on a decent field of fellow mares in the 2012 Let’s Elope Stakes.
The Invincible Spirit five-year-old, winner of the AJC Sires’ Produce Stakes as a three-year-old back in 2010, is one of 15 horses nominated for the $220,000 Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) this year.
The Caulfield based mare became a dual Group 1 winner in the 2010 Thousand Guineas during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, which was also her first victory since her maiden elite level success.
After a number of disappointing runs that spring, including her dead last finish to Sacred Choice on a bog Flemington track in the Myer Classic, Yosei finally won again in June last year.
Adding a third Group 1 title to her record she hang on in a tight finish to beat home the Peter Snowden-trained Beaded by a narrow margin in the Tattersall’s Tiara at Eagle Farm.
That year’s spring was a write off for Yosei however as she failed to finish better than seventh in her four starts, the last three of which were in Group 1 company.
She looked more competitive during this year’s autumn season however including her eye-catching third when defeated only a length by superstar More Joyous in the Doncaster Mile at Randwick in April.
Yosei resumed with a distant 10th to Lady Melksham in the Group 3 WW Cockram Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on August 18 when failing to handle 59kg on a Heavy (10) track.
Second up on firmer ground over more distance on Saturday however Webb has his fingers crossed that Yosei can improve as she again meets her last-start conqueror Lady Melksham.
She won’t have an easy go however as she is the 58.5kg toweight, and Yosie’s record at Flemington leaves a lot to be desired with six failed runs from seven attempts.
“She’s only small and as a result she’s never carried weight well,” Webb said.
“And for some reason she’s probably not at her best at Flemington either.
“She only had 52 kilograms in the Doncaster, that’s the sort of weight that gives her a chance these days.
“But I still expect her to run well at Flemington – I’d be disappointed if she didn’t after her good trial.”
The only time she’s finished in the money at Flemington came at career start number three when she ran third to Shamrocker in the 2010 VRC Sires’ Produce Stakes, but Webb hopes to change that on Saturday.
He gained some confidence from her nice barrier trail at Cranbourne on August 27 when Yosei crossed third over 990m behind Pat Hyland’s Aurie’s Star Handicap winner Shanghai Warrior.
“That was a pretty good effort in the trial to stick with some speedy horses like those two,” Webb said.
“She was taking ground off Shanghai Warrior, so it was a very encouraging effort.”
Following the Let’s Elope Stakes Webb plans to take Yosei for her fourth trip to New South Wales where she will target the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival riches including the $350,000 Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on September 22.
The 2012 Let’s Elope Stakes is one of four Group race features at Flemington this weekend, the meeting’s headline race being the $300,000 Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) which features a number of spring cup hopefuls including Manighar and December Draw.
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