Premier trainer Chris Waller and leading jockey James McDonald combined for three straight wins after Funstar led all of the way to take out the Group 1 $500,000 Darley Flight Stakes (1600m) at Randwick today.
Waller was hoping that Funstar would settle behind a leader but after the filly jumped the best of the small six horse field, McDonald had no hesitation in letting the odds on favourite dictate the race from the front.
The Flight Stakes race was touted to be a race in two with Funstar and the Kiwi filly Probabeel the only genuine chances in the Group 1 for the three year old fillies and that was the way it panned out.
McDonald had Funstar travelling sweetly in front and Kerrin McEvoy didn’t want the $1.75 favourite to get too far out of his sights so he let Probabeel ($2.40) stride up to sit at the Waller trained filly’s rump.
Coming to the home turn McDonald hadn’t moved on Funstar while McEvoy was starting to get busy on Probabeel to try and stay in touch.
McDonald sat quietly until he hit the top of the rise and when he let the filly lengthen her stride, the Flight Stakes was all over and she went on to record a three and a quarter lengths win over Probabeel with Foxborough ($31) the best of the rest.
Waller had always held a high opinion of Funstar from her two year old days and the stable was rewarded with her win in the Group 1 Flight Stakes.
“She is a talent. We’ve known what we’ve had and we’ve just carefully placed her. We learnt off previous horses we’ve had in the stable. Pushing on from a winter preparation. She so deserved this win today for the owners,” Waller said.
“She settled. We didn’t want to over complicate things. She is a professional horse that did a few little things wrong. She is the real deal. It was her first G1 but won’t be last G1.”
Waller has the options to chase more Spring Carnival Group 1 victories for Funstar who could stay in Sydney for the Group 1 $1m Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on October 12 or go to Melbourne for the Group 1 $1m Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on the same day.
“I’ll have a talk to the owners. She could go to the Spring Champion or the Thousand Guineas. We look after the horse and they will look after you. If I have my way we will see her in the Autumn,” Waller said.
McDonald and Waller had combined to win the two previous races with Global Quest in the Group 3 $160,000 Breeders’ Plate (1000m) and with Dealmaker in the BenchMark 88 Handicap (1600m).
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