Trainer Jim Conlan (Image: Racing Photos)
Jim Conlan admits he is still feeling his way with returned expatriate Mister Yeoh, but he has at least some basis for confidence as he prepares the horse for Flemington on Saturday.
Conlan was the original trainer of Mister Yeoh before the galloper was sent to Singapore in late 2017 as a three-year-old, but it is a connection that goes back a little further into the horse's history that gives Conlan hope the five-year-old gelding can be one of the few that come home from that jurisdiction and further their track careers.
Mister Yeoh is by out of broodmare Wai Lin, whose mother was Miss Pennymoney. She is the mare who won Conlan his first Group 1 as a trainer when she ran clear of a horse called Redoute's Choice no less, to win the Australia Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley in 2000.
A few weeks later, she also won the Newmarket Handicap.
Conlan is yet to fully reassess Mister Yeoh, but her link to his former star encourages him ahead of Saturday's Jim Beam Hill Plate (1000m).
"She was also placed in another three or four Group 1s and she ran in a great era," Conlan said of his former star sprinter.
"She came up against the likes of Redoute's Choice and Testa Rossa. She couldn't beat Testa Rossa, but she did have some wins over Redoute's Choice.
"She's been a bit of a disappointment as a broodmare, but her grandchildren are going OK.
"Mister Yeoh is a full brother to the mare Pinyin (who has won or been placed in 12 of 15 starts) and I think Pinyin's got her determination, not her ability.
"Miss Pennymoney was a very single-minded horse and wanted to get the job done. Pinyin is like that, but she just lacks the ability. She's probably eight lengths below Miss Pennymoney.
"This seems to be a very genuine horse too. I expect him to run well on the weekend. Where he finishes, I don't know, it's so hard to tell.
"Not many horses come back from Singapore and reach their best form again, so our eyes are open."
Bred by long-time client Nick Turnbull, Mister Yeoh had a profitable time in Singapore under trainer Cliff Brown, earning more than $700,000 in stakes.
"We had identified him as a three-year-old that he would be up to Saturday class in Melbourne and that style of horse is well suited in Singapore," Conlan said.
"So, he went over there and won something like $700,000 over there but he'd just about reached his mark and Nick wanted to bring him back and we're just going to see where he fits into Australian racing, if at all.
"He's had a really good preparation. He's had two jumpouts and had a little bit of pressure put on him in the second one and he trialed well.
"All his work has been good. I don't think he really likes a soft track, but this will tell us where he fits in.
"He's a pretty straightforward sort of horse and he wants to be a racehorse. Every time he's galloped, he's galloped well and the same for his trials."
Conlan has been fortunate to have jockey Ben Thompson work with the horse in the lead-up and in Saturday's race.
"Ben won on him in Singapore in a Stakes race so Ben knows him well and he's trialed him for me and he said he's going as well as he was in Singapore," Conlan said.