Caulfield trainer Stuart Webb rates his triple Group 1 winner Yosei a good lightweight chance for the 2012 Epsom Handicap this Saturday even if jockey Glyn Schofield has to ride her above her allocated kilos.
The five-year-old Invincible Spirit mare is on 52kg for the $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m), one of four Group 1 races on the Royal Randwick race card for this Saturday, but may jump with 52.5 kilos on her back.
Yosei, who has had three runs this time in, was ridden by Schofield last start when finishing seventh to Shoot Out in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) on September 22 with 57kg, Schofield replacing the horse’s injured regular jockey Michelle Payne.
Webb is confident Yosei has improvement in her on her George Main performance which wasn’t as bad as it looked on paper.
“It was a typical Sydney weight-for-age race with a very slow tempo,” he said.
“I knew after three furlongs (600 metres) that she had no hope of winning.
“I was a bit in the medium range about her run but Glyn was able to put it into perspective and he was happy with the way she went through the line.
“Mathematically it was impossible for her to beat good weight-for-age horses like Shoot Out and Rangirangdoo trying to chase them down.”
While he doesn’t often venture into lightweight territory Schofield is working hard to get to the 52kg for Saturday’s Epsom ride, however Webb isn’t overly worried if Yosei has to be ridden half a kilo over.
“Worst-case scenario he will ride her at a half kilo over which is not ideal but he will trying his best to get down to the 52 (kilograms),” Webb said.
It is shaping up as a big Epsom Handicap Day for Schofield this weekend too with his other lightweight ride being on the Chris Waller-trained Stout Hearted on 52kg in the $400,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m).
“I’ve ridden at that weight in the past couple of years so it shouldn’t be a problem,” Schofield said.
Yosei is well inside in the top half of the Epsom Handicap betting markets paying $21 to win her fourth elite level feature.
Epsom Handicap odds are led by the Gai Waterhouse-trained Fat Al ($5) who ran third as the beaten favourite in the Group 2 Shannon Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill last Saturday, and the Chris Waller-trained Shoot Out ($5.50) who was last seen winning the George Main first-up.
Other notable hopefuls likely to be named in the 2012 Epsom Handicap final field this week include Waller’s eye-catching George Main Stakes runner-up Rangirangdoo, Peter Snowden’s first-up Theo Marks Sprint winner Ambidexter, defending Epsom Handicap champ Secret Admirer and Waller’s in-form four-year-old Said Com.
Stay tuned to Races.com.au for all the Epsom Handicap field and betting updates, final acceptances to be taken on Wednesday.
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