A relieved Michelle Payne can continue her association with her favourite horse Yosei in Sunday’s Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield.
Payne appealed the severity of an eight-meeting ban from Ballarat last Sunday and needed to have one meeting shaved off by the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board on Thursday to be free to ride on Sunday.
The Group One-winning jockey was successful, with the RAD Board reducing her suspension from eight meetings to six.
“That’s what we were hoping for and it worked out really well,” Payne said.
Yosei is an outsider for the Group One handicap but Payne, who has ridden the three-time Group One winner throughout her career when available, believes the six-year-old has been building nicely into the spring.
The Stuart Webb-trained Yosei has finished back in the field in her only two starts this campaign but Payne said it had taken the mare a bit longer to lose weight this time around.
“But I think she’s coming along really nicely and her action is probably the best it’s ever been,” Payne said.
“She’s still loving it and I think she’s in for a good preparation.”
Payne expects Yosei to be better again at her next start in the Group One Toorak Handicap (1600m) but said the mare couldn’t be underestimated on Sunday.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if she ran well because she’s getting up to her right distance and she’s getting fitter,” Payne said.
“The only thing is she’s got barrier 18 which isn’t great, but there’s not much you can do about that.”
The Caulfield track was rated in the slow range on Thursday after almost 30mm of overnight rain.
Sydney sprinter Rebel Dane is the $5 favourite despite drawing wide in barrier 16.
The Peter Moody-trained Strawberry Boy is on the second line at $6 ahead of last year’s placegetter and Group One Toorak Handicap winner Solzhenitsyn at $8.