Yendall tips Scales in favour of Cox Plate tilt
Written off as a Group 1 contender after being sidelined for long periods with a host of chronic injuries, rejuvenated Scales Of Justice is suddenly in Cox Plate reckoning.
Moments after the battle-scarred seven-year-old laid waste to a decorated group of Memsie Stakes (1400m) rivals, jubilant jockey Dean Yendall dared to dream of a Cox Plate tilt on October 26.
Revealing he had ridden the 2016 Railway Stakes winner for weeks before finding out who the horse actually was, Yendall has forged a potent partnership with the gelding known as "Chopper."
The lightweight's trackwork toil was recognised by trainer Lindsey Smith and Yendall now hopes Scales Of Justice ($3.70) is given a chance at even higher honours after resisting So Si Bon ($21) and luckless Alizee ($2.70).
"Onwards and upwards," Yendall said after paying emotional tribute to Mikaela Claridge.
"Words can't describe how I feel at the moment.
"He's proven over a bit of trip so maybe the Cox Plate come late October."
As critics took aim at Damien Oliver on Alizee, Yendall was lauded for a copybook ride on Scales Of Justice.
"Chopper is just a lovely horse to ride, he can be a bit tricky, a bit lazy but I probably blame myself a little bit for the Adelaide defeat (last start) for not doing enough on him, work-wise.
"But I knew back at home, he had that run under his belt that would top him off for today.
"He had a superior run through the race. They went at a good, solid tempo.
"I sort of produced him early like I did first-up here (in the Bletchingly Stakes), let him rip and he just took off on him.
"I was thinking 'I hope these buggers don't get near me at the 100m, they were sort of closing in but he fought them off really easily."
Addressing the huge amount of unheralded trackwork and trials he rides, Yendall said: "If you do the work, you do get rewarded."
Smith, who has taken over disqualified trainer Darren Weir's Warrnambool complex, traced victory to a visit to Victoria a few years back.
"A couple of years ago when I stayed here with the guys, I was excited by that," he said.
"When all the things (Weir's outing) happened, I thought 'I've got the best stable in the world' and as I've said 'built it and they'll all come."
Smith has thrived since setting up the stable, paying tribute to Yendall's work ethic.
"He is an angry little man, when he gets upset I wouldn't want to fight him but he's a good rider," Smith said of Yendall. "When I first came over he was the first to give me a hand."
Alizee swept home from 12th on the turn to be touched out of second by Lindsay Park's So Si Bon.
"Off a strong pace we weren't surprised to see her a long way back so that was OK, but 'Ollie' just would have loved to have had something bring him into the race a little bit more," trainer James Cummings said. "But that wasn't the case as we were around Material Man and Black Heart Bart."
Hartnell is likely to target the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington in two weeks after finishing fourth.