Yonce ($3.30) held off all challengers in the Group 3 Carlyon Cup at Caulfield on Saturday, making every post a winner to secure victory in the 1600m feature.
The lightly raced six-year-old mare was third-up into the campaign after suffering a lengthy setback and had only recently returned from the paddock after 626 days off the scene.
Two moderate performances at this course at Listed level were both clearly short of her best journey, with the 1100m and 1400m proving too sharp for the daughter of Proisir.
That simply wasn’t the case on Saturday, as Yonce was able to recapture the form that allowed her to storm to victory on six consecutive occasions in her last preparation.
John Allen utilized her early speed to cross to the lead from gate five and was able to steal a few cheap sectionals, staving off her rivals all the way to the wire.
Both Foxy Cleopatra ($4.00) and Young Werther ($2.70) were impressive returns to bound into the minor money but were no match for the battle-tested Yonce on the weekend.
2024 Group 3 Carlyon Cup Replay – Yonce
Trainer Ciaron Maher was on course to speak post-race and praised his resilient mare.
“Super,” an excited Maher said.
“She promised so much, she went all the way through to Group 1 performer basically in one prep so great to have her back and Johnny.
“There wasn’t a lot of speed; she jumped well.
“I was a bit nervous when I did see him in front because she has been a bit aggressive this prep, but he took luck out of it, and full credit to him.”
John Allen spoke about his mount in the aftermath and seemed to suggest that leading wasn’t always the plan.
“It probably wasn’t the plan to lead,” Allen explained.
“Ideally we wanted a bit of cover because she can overdo it a little bit, but she began well, and when Craig tried to kick up and cross me.
“I didn’t want to get into an argument at that stage; it was just getting her into a rhythm, little bit strong with me, but she wasn’t overdoing it too much, and she’s obviously a class filly.
“Last prep she was very good; she’s been out a while, but she’s been building this prep very good, and she’s a quality horse.”