Universal Ruler completed a feature double in the Ascot Fillies & Mares Summer Series with Yonga Lass a breakthrough winner of the G3 La Trice Classic (1800m) on Monday.
Yonga Lass also became Universal Ruler’s 11th black-type winner in the fourth and final leg of the Series. The Scenic Lodge sire’s south-west mare Rusty Dreams had claimed the third-leg in the LR Starstruck Classic (1600m) on December 16.
“I hope that’s the second-best ride of the day after Casino Seventeen in the Perth Cup,” co-trainer Grant Williams joked as Willie Pike returned to scale on the La Trice winner.
Just over an hour later, the stablemate made it a New Year’s Day to remember for Williams, his wife Alana and Pike.
Yonga Lass and her connections celebrate the La Trice Classic victory / Photo: Western Racepix
Yonga Lass (4m Universal Ruler – Give The Signal by Fastnet Rock) was bred by managing part-owner Ian ‘Butch’ O’Connor. He paid $75,000 for her dam when she was offered as a yearling at the 2011 Inglis Melbourne Premier Sale.
Pike landed in the box-seat from a wide barrier on Yonga Lass and she responded with a strong finish to defeat Fine Touch (Maschino) and Forever Dreaming (Snippetson). “That’s what we’ve come to expect from Willie. There were no instructions and I’ve got to thank him for keeping her in work, too.
“We were nearly going to put her out for a spell. I thought she was looking for the paddock after finishing fourth in the Starstruck but Willie said, ‘Hey, it’s a Group 3. You’ve gotta have a go’. And now we’ve won it.
“All credit to Willie. She came good and I rang Butch and the boys this morning and said you won’t believe it but this mare is the best I’ve had her all prep! She trotted up beautifully and looked so healthy in the coat.”
Universal Ruler (Scenic) has 11 yearlings entered for the Perth Magic Millions in February and there have been several winning pedigree updates in recent weeks including the filly out of New Vogue (Dane Shadow). Catalogued as Lot 295 for Scenic Lodge, she is a half-sister to I Dreamed a Dream (Oratorio) who won at Belmont on Xmas Eve off the back of an Albany maiden for trainer Steve Wolfe.
Universal Ruler also weighed in with a double at Geraldton on Saturday combining Fine Line in a maiden for trainer Gordon Spowart with tough mare Uni Queen in the $50,000 Walkaway Cup (2100m) for Graeme Hammarquist.