Celebrated distance rider John Allen took the honours in the $200,000, Group 3, The Big Screen Company T.S. Carlyon Cup (1600m) when leading from start to finish aboard the Ciaron Maher-trained Yonce (NZ).
A seven-horse affair devoid of a natural frontrunner, Allen dictated terms from a very early stage of the contest and turned for home in poll position before safely holding the late closing Foxy Cleopatra to record a three-quarter length success.
Multiple Group 1 performer Young Werther (NZ) came in for strong support in the 1600-metre assignment and managed to finish within a length of the winner in third. However, the specialist middle-distance performer never had the race run to suit his strongest attributes and rarely appeared likely to overhaul the ultimate winner at any stage in the straight.
Allen calls all the shots in Yonce's T.S. Carlyon Cup victory; picture Racing Photos
Winning trainer Ciaron Maher observed after the win: “First, it’s a credit to the owners. She had a little injury, she could’ve went to stud, [as] she had a pretty good record, but I said there’s still a lot more to offer here and they were patient … They had three in the race so fortunately they could win. I thought we might’ve grabbed third [also] but it looks like we’ve been rolled.”
Maher added: “Super, she promised so much, she went all the way through to [become a] Group One performer basically in one prep, so great to have her back. And Johnny [Allen], 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.”
Speaking after his perfectly judged winning ride, Allen admitted: “It probably wasn’t the plan to lead… ideally we wanted a bit of cover because she can overdo it a little bit. But she began well and when Craig [Williams] 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.
“[She was a] 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.”
A 6-year-old daughter of heralded New Zeland-based sire Proisir, Yonce (NZ) has now won seven of her 10 starts and took her earnings to $539,125. Her T.S. Carlyon Cup success was her first in stakes company.
Yonce (NZ) was returned at $3.40, Foxy Cleopatra at $4.20, and Young Werther as the $2.70 favourite.
Winning time was 1m37.50s, and the official margins 3/4 lengths x 1/2 neck.