After feeling the pressure following a far from ideal preparation, trainer David Vandyke is hoping for a top three finish in Saturday’s Golden Rose Stakes from his star filly Yankee Rose.
Yankee Rose was the superstar two-year-old filly of the autumn, the daughter of All American winning three of her four opening career starts.
Her sole loss was a brave defeat when a half-length off the Peter & Paul Snowden-trained Capitalist in the world’s richest race for juveniles, the $3.5 million Group 1 Golden Slipper Stakes (1200m), as a $21 outsider.
Vandyke always had Yankee Rose tracking for a run over more metres and she lived up to his expectations on April 2 during Sydney’s ‘The Championships’ winning the Group 1 ATC Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) by two and a half lengths.
That was her last start with setbacks preventing her from making an earlier three-year-old debut before the tough first-up run this weekend at Rosehill Gardens.
On the back of two official August trials Yankee Rose makes her return in the $1 million Group 1 De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose (1400m) as one of three fillies taking on the boys in the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival classic.
Until a strong gallop at her home track at the Sunshine Coast on Sunday with the blinkers on, Vandyke wasn’t sure his hopeful would even be there running on Golden Rose Stakes Day.
She had been very average in all her lead-up work forcing a compulsory vet check and plenty of unwanted stress for Vandyke.
“I have never been through anything like this in my racing life,” Vandyke said opening up to The Daily Telegraph.
“It has just created a massive degree of stress, frustration and doubt and really has stretched me in many areas emotionally and I’m glad I’m off the drink, I can tell you that.
“She is potentially the best three-year-old filly in the country and what I see on the track she would be lucky to win a maiden anywhere.
“I’m dealing with a horse that has such a reputation and so much expectation from the public and owners and I don’t want her, or myself, to let people down.”
Yankee Rose is known for underperforming in track work before putting it all together on race day in what can be a nerve wracking experience for her dedicated trainer.
“Sometimes I think I should be doing more when I’m doing everything I can think of,” Vandyke admitted.
“I have to be calling the shots and backing my own judgment and sometimes I doubt whether my judgment’s correct.”
Yankee Rose originally led the very early Golden Rose Stakes betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au to become the first filly since Forensics (2008) to get the job done.
Another filly is now all the rage with punters to do the same.
Chris Waller saddles-up the firm $3.70 top fancy Omei Sword, the last start Group 2 Silver Shadow Stakes winner drawn a treat in barrier three with Brazilian hoop Joao Moreira travelling over for the ride.
Yankee Rose meanwhile opened at $9.50 on Tuesday, but has since been backed into $7.50 with Vankdye hoping she can salute for those supporting her.
“I’ve got an open mind about where she is going to finish, however I do expect her, after her gallop last Sunday, to run a good race and be finishing off,” he said.
“Whether she finishes top three I’m not sure and I hope she will. However, if she is not in the first half of the field I would be disappointed.
“I don’t really have my head around her winning but if she does that it would be amazing.”
Yankee Rose is drawn barrier nine in the 14-starter Golden Rose Stakes field, a gate that last produced a winner with Toorak Toff in 2010.
Zac Purton retains the ride having been aboard for her Golden Slipper second and Group 1 win last time out as a two-year-old.