Options aplenty for Yonce after five wins on the trot

Yonce wins at Flemington
Yonce (NZ) ridden by John Allen wins the Schweppes Plate at Flemington Racecourse on March 5, 2022. (Scott Barbour/Racing Photos)

The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace training partnership capped off a terrific day at Flemington on Saturday winning the last event on the card with unbeaten mare Yonce.

The victory came after the training duo took out the feature race of the day, with Hitotsu winning the Group 1 Australian Guineas in the same colours.

Although the Benchmark 84 event over 1600m pales in comparison to a $1 million Group 1 event, connections have every right to be excited about what the promising Yonce has in-store.

Eustace indicated that they will now look towards a stakes race for the galloper after she was able to stretch her unbeaten run to five races on Saturday.

“There’s some obvious races in Adelaide, but we need to have a look and see what’s up in Sydney,” Eustace told Racing.com after the race.

The four-year-old is still in her first preparation and has been up since mid-December. This would be a concern for most trainers, but the Maher & Eustace team seem to be able to do things other trainers can’t. They have shown an incredible ability to keep horses going through long preparations and even have them improve as they go deeper into their campaign.

A great example of this was when Persan was transferred to their stable after racing in Sydney with David Payne. After running first-up in a Wangaratta Maiden in April, the stable was able to keep him going as he won his way into a Melbourne Cup almost seven months later, where he ran a gallant fifth.

Yonce has so far been able to win races between 1200-1600m. Being out of a Zabeel mare, and being able to hit the line as hard as she does, she looks a likely prospect to eventually stretch out over further.

The daughter of Proisir has also shown an ability to win on both hard and soft ground after her victory on what was rated a Soft 6 on Saturday.

“The team and the owners thought that if she got on a bit of wet ground she’d be even better and with a bit of give in the ground today she really showed that dynamic turn-of-foot,” jockey John Allen said after dismounting.

The ability to train the way that Maher & Eustace do, coupled with the ability Yonce has shown in her career so far, opens up a plethora of options for the galloper.

The mare has been entered for the Group 1 Doncaster Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on April 2, as well as the Group 1 Queen of the Turf Stakes (1600m) at the same venue on April 9.

She’s also in the betting for the Group 1 Coolmore Classic (1500m) at Rosehill next weekend, where she is rated an $11 chance with Sportsbet.

If connections choose Adelaide as her next destination, the Group 2 Queen of the South Stakes (1600m) on May 7 against her own sex could be a target.

Whichever way she goes next, Yonce looks to be an exciting prospect going forward.

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