In a race of firsts, Yankee Rose has outgunned her male counterparts to end their perfect record in the Spring Champion Stakes and delivered a Group One win for a Victorian jockey on a rare visit to Randwick.
Dean Yendall answered the call from Yankee Rose’s trainer David Vandyke to ride the filly on Saturday with a view to the Cox Plate in which she will carry 47.5kg, a weight few riders can manage.
The diminutive filly confirmed a start against the big names, Winx and Hartnell, when she stormed home to beat Swear by a half length with Prized Icon another short half head third.
“It’s one for the Aussie battlers,” Vandyke said.
“Who would have thought when the owners bought her they would have a Golden Slipper runner and Cox Plate runner with two Group Ones in between.
“And you would have thought Dean had ridden here a hundred times the way he rode her.
“Everything is in place now for the Cox Plate and then the Oaks.”
Vandyke used the Spring Champion to test the filly’s credentials over 2000 metres ahead of the 2016 Cox Plate in two weeks.
The 41-year-old Yendall, a big part of trainer Darren Weir’s record-breaking season in 2015/16, is more used to travelling around country Victoria than the bigger arenas.
But he is well and truly ready for Moonee Valley.
“I heard David on the radio some months ago saying the Cox Plate could be in the plans for Yankee Rose,” he said.
“And when he rang and asked me to come up here to ride her, I jumped at it.
“I’ve won a Group One and she will go to the Cox Plate with a good chance.
“She just gave me a lovely ride and she is still quite green,
“I had her chasing for a little bit there when they quickened the tempo but once I got her to the top of the rise and asked her to really give a good effort, she hit the line so well.
“It doesn’t really feel much different but now I can be known as a Group One jockey so I’m very happy with that.”
Vandyke gained his first Group One win when Yankee Rose won the ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes earlier this year after her second to Capitalist in the Golden Slipper.
He made a late decision to back her up on Saturday, seven days after her second to Global Glamour in the Flight Stakes.
Global Glamour franked the form of that race with her win in the Thousand Guineas at Caulfield.
Earlier in the afternoon at the Melbourne meeting, Winx reaffirmed her $1.90 favouritism in the Cox Plate with her win over Black Heart Bart in the Caulfield Stakes.
Hartnell is the $3 second elect for the Cox Plate with Yankee Rose at $17.