Progressive mare Yearn put her name in the frame for higher honours with a gritty performance at Ellerslie on Saturday.
Carrying the purpose-made colours of raceday sponsor, The Life Education Trust, the four-year-old Matamata galloper made it four wins from five starts in this campaign when she dealt to a handy line-up of rating 85 gallopers in the Dunstan Feeds 1500 Championship Qualifier (1400m).
Rider Trudy Thornton took advantage of the Savabeel mare’s quick beginning to have her stalking the leaders throughout before issuing her challenge at the top of the straight. After hitting the front shortly after, Yearn showed all her fighting qualities to hold out topweight Ruud Not Too by a neck with a head back to the fast-finishing Vinevale in third.
“That was a very tough win as I was worried she may have been a little fresh after her break,” said trainer Karen Fursdon.
“She is such a good eater and had definitely enjoyed her time of, so I did wonder if it might trip her up in a close finish, but she went to the line strongly which was great to see.”
“She came home last night and ate everything put in front of her and was singing out for breakfast on Sunday morning, so she is a very happy horse.”
Fursdon has been amazed at the improvement the mare has shown in her campaign to date and is quick to credit the work of co-owner Mark Lupton in that regard.
“Mark had done a heap of preparation work with her before she came to me and that has really paid dividends for her,” she said.
“She went back to Mark during her short break after her run on Melbourne Cup day and she just thrived. He has always said he thought she would go right to the top and on what she has done so far you can’t fault his judgment.”
Fursdon believes Yearn is now ready to tackle elite company although exactly where that is will be a matter of deciding on the most suitable race for her in the coming weeks.
“I will sit down with Mark and work out a plan for her as we do have some options to look at,” she said.
“The Dunstan Feeds Championship Final on Boxing Day is one possibility, but we will need to see how the handicapper treats her before we make a decision there.”
“I think she will definitely get 1600 metres by the way she races so the Rich Hill Mile on the last day at Ellerslie is another to consider as she would get in on the minimum.”
“We also have her nominated for both the Telegraph and the Thorndon Mile at Trentham in late January so there is plenty to think about.”