Race-caller Darren McAullay claimed Willie Pike would need a periscope on Yonga Lass to spot the leaders in the Schweppes Hcp (1500m) at Ascot on Saturday.
The short-priced favourite was last in a capacity field turning for home and was still a half-dozen lengths from front-runner Long Weekend (Pride Of Dubai) at the furlong. “She was full of running but I was already thinking of an excuse for finishing fifth or sixth,” Pike confessed.
“Somehow she reeled them in (Photo / Western Racepix) and I can see her measuring up in much better company.”
Yonga Lass (4m Universal Ruler – Give The Signal by Fastnet Rock) is trained by Grant and Alana Williams and a suitable assignment would be the LR Starstruck Classic (1600m) on December 16. Known as ‘Delilah’ at home, she has now won four out of her five starts since transferring from Todd Harvey earlier this year.
“We would burn some rating points but a black-type win would be good for ‘Butch’ (Ian O’Connor) and the other owners,” Grant Williams said. ‘That win had to be seen to be believed. She got the job done from an impossible position for Willie.
“She worked extra well on Wednesday and that was a pretty impressive win. She just keeps stepping up to the plate for us!”
O’Connor bought into the family when he paid $75,000 for her dam Give The Signal as a yearling at the 2011 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale. She retired a maiden and her only other winner at stud, besides Yonga Lass, is Quillow (Demerit) who broke through at Pinjarra in May.
Introducing Scenic Lodge sire Universal Ruler has given the family a decided lift. The most recent black-type winner on the page goes back three generations to Mahogany (Last Tycoon), an all-round Champion with Group 1 victories to his credit at Flemington over 1000m (Lightning Stakes), 1600m (Australian Guineas) and 2500m (Victoria Derby).
Universal Ruler (Scenic) is sitting second on the WA sires’ premiership behind Playing God for prizemoney, winners and wins this season. His mare The Velvet Queen is an each-way chance at $31 for the G1 Northerly Stakes (1800m) at Ascot this Saturday after sprinting home from last to a midfield finish in the G1 Railway Stakes (1600m) last month.