The Chris Waller trained Funstar was given the judge’s decision by a nose in a three way photo finish in the Group 2 $200,000 Darley Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Randwick today.
Jockey Tommy Berry had the odds on favourite Libertini ($1.85) travelling like a winner for most of the race just off the leader Anaheed ($11) and looked to have plenty in reserve at the top of the rise.
Libertini didn’t go down without a fight and it took the length of the Randwick straight for Funstar ($3.60) to get the upper hand in the final few stride.
James McDonald was able to get Funstar to stretch her neck out on the line and in so doing held of the fast finishing Probabeel ($15) who worried Libertini out of second spot.
McDonald on Funstar tracked Libertini throughout the race and came to her outside on the home turn while Kerrin McEvoy brought Probabeel into the race from near last on the home turn.
Waller comfirmed that Funstar would apprecite a step up to the 1600m in the Flight Stakes in a fortnight.
“She has a strong finish to her races. Hopefully not as close next time. We’ve said all along she has all the right attributes to be a decent horse. When she gets over a little bit further she will be even better. The mile of the Flight Stakes in two weeks time. Hope things work out and she continues to improve,” Waller said.
“They backed off the speed and I think it was more tempo related. It shows there is still a bit of upside. When you get a really genuinely run race that will be a big help to her.”
“She is a really talented horse and one you can work well with. That always shines out to the trainer when trying to identify a good horse. It’s a pleasure working with horses like her.”
The possibility of the three fillies meeting again in the Group 1 $500,000 Darley Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on October 5 is still on the cards with Funstar at $4.60 and Probabeel at $4.80 heading the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au for the Group 1 for the three year old fillies.
Libertini has drifted dramatically for the Flight Stakes from $2.80 to $6.