Yosei and Michelle make it a Group 1 hat-trick

Victorian filly Yosei and her jockey Michelle Payne have done it again.
The pair completed a third Group 1 triumph when they came from last on the home turn to win the $500,000 Group 1 Sky Racing Tattersall’s Tiara (1400m) at Eagle Farm in Brisbane on Saturday.

Payne only resumed riding three weeks ago after suffering a fractured vertebra in a fall at Caulfield in February. Her reunion with Yosei saw the three-year-old return to form after two unplaced runs this preparation.

Yosei, trained at Caulfield by Stuart Webb, started $15 after being specked at long odds earlier in the week. The delighted Webb declared the Tiara was the first time he has ever backed the Invincible Spirit filly.

After drawing barrier one, Payne and Yosei settled further back than expected and just before the turn they were last on the rails with the $1.95 favorite Beaded hooking to the outside and looking likely to motor home for another Group 1 win for the Peter Snowden stable.

But Payne didn’t panic and threaded her way through near the inside to win by a half neck going away. Beaded was second, 0.7 lengths ahead of Mike Moroney’s $31 chance Born To Rock.

Yosei and Payne first hit the headlines when they won the AJC Sires Produce Stakes at Randwick in April 2010. Last spring they combined to take the Schweppes Thousand Guineas at Caulfield.

Yosei is raced by her breeder John Pittard with Robert and Paul McClure. They kept her when she failed to make her $15,000 reserve at the 2008 Inglis Great Southern Weanling sale. She has now won $894,475 and has enormous value as a broodmare.

Aussie Star forced to settle for another Ascot minor placing

Top Australian colt Star Witness had to settle for another minor placing at the 300th Royal Ascot Carnival when he finished a game third in the Golden Jubilee Stakes (1200m) in the early hours of Sunday morning AEST.

The Danny O’Brien-trained three-year-old looked the winner of the $610,000 Group 1 300m from home, but had no answer for the powerful finish of Society Rock and Monsieur Chevalier on the soft track.

The effort followed a luckless second in the 1000m King’s Stand Stakes on the opening day of the Carnival, but instead of being disappointed, O’Brien said he couldn’t help but be proud of the son of Starcraft.

“Both of his runs have been outstanding,” O’Brien said. “Without winning, he’s certainly given us plenty to be proud of.

“Most things have gone right, obviously the weather’s something we can’t control, but we’ve turned up with the horse in good order. He’s travelled well and he’s raced well.”

A winner of the Blue Diamond Stakes and Coolmore Stud Stakes at Group 1 level over 1200m in Australia, Star Witness just struggled to run out the testing six furlongs at Royal Ascot on a wet track.

Unlike Wednesday morning when he raced without cover throughout after missing the start, jockey Steven Arnold found cover aboard Star Witness after cutting towards the inside with the bulk of the field and produced his charge at the 400m.

The heavily-backed 4/1 chance, backed in from 6/1, surged a length clear at the 300m and looked the winner, but within 100m it was obvious he was in trouble with 25/1 shots unwinding either side of him.

The James Fanshawe-trained Society Rock, runner-up to the Aussie-bred Starspangledbanner in last year’s Golden Jubilee, charged through on the inside to get home by a half-length from Richard Hannon’s Monsieur Chevalier.

Star Witness was a further length and a quarter away, a head in advance of the Roger Varian-trained Elzaam (12/1), a son of Aussie supersire Redoute’s Choice.

Arnold would have preferred to wait a little longer before producing Star Witness, but said the track was more a contributing factor behind the defeat than when he was forced to make his run.

“When I got cover, he was beautiful for a couple of furlongs then the thing in front of me was gone and I was going to have to be stopping him (if I didn’t go), so I came out and flowed on him,” the Cox Plate-winning jockey said.

“He got to the front and I think on the testing ground, the ground’s soft, it just makes it bit more of a test up the last bit. I think that’s probably just cost us on the day.”

Star Witness may yet return home to stud duties at Widden Stud a Group 1 winner with O’Brien entertaining the idea of a start in the remaining English leg of the Global Sprint Challenge, the $610,000 Group 1 July Cup (1200m) at Newmarket on July 9.

ADNOCON GOES BACK TO BACK IN EYE LINER

Adnocon will head to the Glasshouse Handicap in top form after making it back to back wins in the listed $176,500 Eye Liner Stakes (1350m) at Ipswich on Saturday.

Ridden by Damian Browne, Adnocon came with a well timed run to reel in the leaders in the straight and then hold out the favourite Gundy Sun in an all Magic Millions finish.

The performance was strong considering the son of Clang was trapped deep for much of the race – but in his first run since a sixth placing at Randwick in February.

Adnocon is trained by Gerald Ryan and his stable foreman Brad Banfield said today’s win capped a long term ambition to win the race for the second time.

“Gerald and I sat down to work out what we would bring up for the carnival and it was then that he told me he wanted to set this horse for the Eye Liner,” Banfield told AAP.

“We gave him plenty of work before we left home, he had two trials and he’s done a treat since he arrived two weeks ago.”

“He was three-deep all the way but there was immense pressure up front and he thrived on that,” Banfield added.

Ryan wasn’t on course at Ipswich but he confirmed from Sydney that his sprint star would run next in the Glasshouse Handicap on July 2. He ran second in last year’s Glasshouse at the Sunshine Coast.

Purchased for just $18,000 from the draft of Warrandale Stud at the 2007 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale, Adnocon has now earned over $488,000.

His part owners include Brisbane race caller David Fowler and local bookie Hadyn Flynn.

Adnocon is a five-year-old son of Clang and one of five winners for his good producing dam Gwenn.

A placegetter at three, Gwenn is a half sister to Sister of Soul – the dam of eight time international stakes winner Indigo Girl.

Aside from Adnocon, Gwenn has produced a winner in New Zealand and Korea, while her two other winners have been successful in Australia – one of them St Gwenn, a seven time winner, is the dam of Shockie.

Adnocon’s second dam, the Jalmood mare M Twenty Five, is a half sister to the former stakes winning juvenile and champion New Zealand based sire Star Way.

So You Think run down in Royal Ascot thriller

For the second night running Australian racing fans had to be content with a narrow Group 1 second at Royal Ascot as superstar So You Think suffered his first defeat in Europe on Wednesday evening (AET).

The dual Tatts Cox Plate winner was denied an historic victory in the Group 1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (2000m) by Godolphin’s underrated Rewilding, but lost few admirers in the process.

The six-time Group 1 winner’s minor placing came 24 hours after Victorian colt Star Witness posted a brave second in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (1000m) after a tardy beginning.

Forced to race without cover after a slow beginning by his stablemate and pacemaker Jan Vermeer, So You Think, the 4/11 favourite, surged to the lead upon turning for home and booted clear by four lengths by the 400m mark.

But a more arduous trip than desired began to take its toll as jockey Ryan Moore asked the Aussie ex-pat for his supreme effort, only to be grabbed in the shadows of the post by talented stayer Rewilding (17/2).

The official margin was a neck, much to the delight of winning jockey Frankie Dettori who stood high in the irons after claiming the coveted race, with six lengths back to outsider Sri Putra (66/1) in third.

Click here to view a replay of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes courtesy of At The Races.

Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien, who had prepared So You Think for two victories from as many starts in the trainer’s homeland, said the star’s shock defeat came because the five-year-old stallion was not at peak fitness.

“It was trainer error. He had a long blow after the race and I don’t think I had him fit enough,” O’Brien told the Racing Post.

“He came here to win his race but was then nailed by a horse who stays a mile and a half.”

Simon Crisford, Godolphin’s Racing Manager, said the O’Brien stable’s decision to utilise Jan Vermeer as a pacemaker was a boost for Rewilding who was dropping back in distance after a runaway win in the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic (2400m) in late March.

“They played into our hands because the pace was so strong which is what our horse needs. He takes a while to get into his rhythm and that’s why Frankie gets on so well with him,” Crisford said.

The win was a breakthrough one for young Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni who scored a memorable maiden victory at Royal Ascot.

“I’m very happy and I have to thank his Highness (Godolphin principal Sheik Mohammed),” Al Zarooni said.

“He’s the one he tells me, ‘Mahmood, this horse should run very fresh’, so we always try it and it’s worked in every race.”

Sheik Mohammed, the Ruler of Dubai, said he was optimistic of running down So You Think despite the head start Rewilding afforded at the top of the straight.

“I was always hopeful (that he would catch So You Think) because that I knew he would stay on and have that speed….the better horse on the day won,” Sheik Mohammed said.

Rewilding will now be targeted at the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2400m) at Ascot next month, whilst the world awaits confirmation of where So You Think will head next.

In other news on day two at Royal Ascot, the Richard Hannon-Richard Hughes combination again shone claiming the Group 3 Jersey Stakes (1400m) with Strong Suit (11/1).

The pair were amongst the stars on day one of the Carnival when they combined to win the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes (1600m) with star miler Canford Cliffs.

Strong Suit’s victory was a welcome return to form for the three-year-old who proved triumphant at the Royal Ascot meeting 12 months prior in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes (1000m).

Star Witness a brave second at Royal Ascot

Victorian three-year-old Star Witness produced an amazing performance to finish second in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (1000m) at Royal Ascot (UK) on Tuesday night (AET) after beginning slowly and settling near to last in the big field of 19 horses.

The Danny O’Brien-trained colt failed by only a half-length to become the fifth Australian to win the coveted sprint in the past decade after victories to Choisir (2003), Takeover Target (2006), Miss Andretti (2007) and Scenic Blast (2009).

Locally-trained plunge horse Prohibit, backed from 14/1 to 7/1, showed the benefit of a sharper beginning to hold off Star Witness (6/1) in 59.5secs and deny Victorian jockey Steven Arnold a second King’s Stand after saluting with Scenic Blast two years ago.

Star Witness, who will be retired to Widden Stud in NSW after the Royal Ascot Carnival, lost no admirers after failing to gain a suitable trail into the race from the 600m mark.

O’Brien declared the performance a “very brave effort” after pre-race plans went out the window with the Starcraft colt’s tardy beginning.

“It certainly wasn’t our plan to be so far back in the race….it’s not a race that, generally, you can win it from that far back,” he explained.

“Steven just would have liked something to take him into the race, he made to make all his own going from three furlongs (600m) out

“He just got nothing to drag him to the winner.”

Star Witness is now almost certain to back up in the Group 1 Golden Jubilee Stakes (1200m) at Royal Ascot on Saturday night (AET) with O’Brien desperate to break his Royal Ascot duck. Fellow Victorian three-year-old colt Hinchinbrook is a confirmed starter.

Steering Prohibit to victory for trainer Robert Cowell was former jumps jockey Jim Crowley who celebrated his biggest moment in the sport with the Group 1 triumph.

Third across the line, a length from the winner, was Hong Kong mare Sweet Sanette (16/1) who shared the lead with Hungarian speedster Overdose who finished fourth and gave a great sight for her punters.

“I was pleased to get a lovely position throughout and he felt really genuine when he hit the front,” Crowley said. “He’s been so consistent and deserves this.”

As the winner of the King’s Stand, leg four of the 2011 Global Sprint Challenge, Prohibit is now eligible to race for a $600,000 bonus on offer for international Challenge winners in the Group 1 Patinack Farm Classic (1200m) at Flemington this November.

Click here to view a replay of the King’s Stand Stakes courtesy of At The Races.