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Yearning for elusive stakes win

Group Two performer Yearn will kick-off her six-year-old season in the Roger Gill Agriculture 1200 at Pukekohe on Saturday, beginning her mission to try and add an all-important stakes victory to her resume.

The daughter of Savabeel has won six of her 31 starts and has been placed on three occasions at stakes level, including second in the Listed Legacy Lodge Sprint (1200m) and third in the Gr.2 Westbury Classic (1400m) and Gr.2 Easter Handicap (1600m).

The Karen Fursdon-trained mare began her preparation on the best possible note, winning her 4 1⁄4 f trial at Te Rapa last month, and that has her connections excited ahead of Saturday.

"She is really well, she had a trial on the 15th at Te Rapa and she performed extremely well and has come through it great," Fursdon said.

"We are really looking forward to starting off tomorrow. She seems to be so much stronger and she just looks terrific."

Although Fursdon believes Yearn  is suited over more ground, she is taking confidence into Saturday from previous fresh-up performances.

"She has run some very good 6 f races fresh," Fursdon said. "She ran second when fresh-up last time and even through the middle of the season she was extremely capable, but she is a better horse at 1400m.

"She won her 4 1⁄4 f trial at Te Rapa very convincingly, so I am picking she is going to be very competitive."

TAB bookmakers have installed Yearn as a $6.50 equal third-favourite with Le Castille, behind the Peter and Dawn Williams-trained Marzemino ($3.40) and Midnight Runner ($4).

Yearn won't have to wait long to have her first tilt at stakes-level this season, with Fursdon eyeing the Gr.2 Feeds Auckland Thoroughbred Breeders' Stakes (1400m) as her first major target.

"Our first aim is the 7 f weight-for-age fillies and mares race at Counties on November 23," she said.

"That will give us an idea of where to aim. I would love to have a go at a mile and maybe even further through the middle of the season.

"We tried a mile and a quarter at the end of the season and she ran well, but it was quite a big season.

"I am hopeful that we are going to perform well at a mile and she is probably at competitive weights to have a go at some of the good miles as well."

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