Sunday at the Sunshine Coast sees the postponed...
This weekend’s Surround Stakes 2020 looks the best edition of the Royal Randwick feature since it’s elevation to a Group 1 race and following the scratching of How Womantic, the resuming Funstar is narrow favourite to salute.
Ciaron Maher & David Eustace’s undefeated Kevin Hayes Stakes winner How Womantic was originally set to chase her fifth win in the Group 1 $500,000 Surround Stakes (1400m) on Chipping Norton Stakes Day this Saturday in Sydney.
A slight setback to her autumn campaign however saw her scratched from the race leaving 13 three-year-old fillies in the mix with a likely return in Flemington’s Group 2 Kewney Stakes (1400m) Saturday week instead.
Updated Surround Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au now has the Chris Waller-trained daughter of Adelaide, Funstar, as the one to beat first-up at $3.30.
Despite drawing the outside barrier, Funstar has been steadily backed in from her opening quote of $4 to take her record up to five wins from six starts.
She has suffered just the one defeat and has a stellar Randwick record (4:3-1-0) including her Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) success last time out back in October.
Two recent Randwick trials have her race ready for Saturday with James McDonald reuniting with the filly chasing his second Surround Stakes success following that aboard Ghisoni (2016).
Following closely in Surround Stakes betting at $3.60 is Godolphin’s last start Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes winner Flit who boasts the fitness edge here of Funstar.
The James Cummings-trained Medaglia D’Oro filly won Caulfield’s Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) in Melbourne last spring and returned with a first-up victory in Sydney.
At double-figures, Flit defeated the fellow Godolphin-raced Group 1 winning fillies Lyre (2nd) and Kiamichi (3rd) in the Light Fingers Stakes on February 15.
All but three of the past 11 Surround Stakes winners had a lead-up run in the Light Fingers Stakes including More Joyous (2010) and Nakeeta Jane (2019) who both completed the double.
Flit now chases the double from barrier seven on Saturday with jockey Hugh Bowman aboard again, Bowman after his second Surround Stakes victory following that on Streama (2012).
Cummings also has Golden Slipper winner Kiamichi in the mix as a $31 outsider after her Light Fingers Stakes third, while Anthony Freedman trains the Light Fingers runner-up Lyre.
Jumping from barrier two with Kerrin McEvoy coming aboard for the first time, Lonhro filly Lyre is after her first win since saluting in the coveted Group 1 Blue Diamond Stakes (1200m) as a juvenile in Melbourne last autumn.
Her Light Fingers return was an eye-catcher and she looks a definite hope to turn the tables on a fellow filly donning the Royal Blue this weekend in the rematch at Surround Stakes odds of $6.50.
The other best in betting bringing a different form line into the race at $4.60 to make it three on the trot is the Jamie Richards-trained New Zealander Probabeel.
Drawn well in barrier five, the Savabeel filly comes off back-to-back wins back home including the Listed 3YO Karaka Million (1600m) that she won by 1.5 lengths on January 25.
She’s had a month between runs to keep her fresh and returns down under for the first time since her successive second’s to Funstar in the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) and Flight Stakes at the Randwick track.
2020 Surround Stakes Field & Barriers
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||312x2914x1||FLIT||James Cummings||Hugh Bowman||7||56kg||105|
|2||113x4274x2||LYRE||Anthony Freedman||Kerrin McEvoy||2||56kg||101|
|3||41130x05x3||KIAMICHI||James Cummings||Ms Rachel King||6||56kg||100|
|4||11x211x||FUNSTAR||Chris Waller||James McDonald||14||56kg||100|
|5||165x422x11||PROBABEEL (NZ)||Jamie Richards||Opie Bosson||5||56kg||–|
|6||11x5552x0||MISSILE MANTRA||Peter & Paul Snowden||Brenton Avdulla||1||56kg||–|
|7||1111||HOW WOMANTIC||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Jye McNeil||13||56kg||–|
|8||13x1131x||XILONG||Tony & Calvin McEvoy||Glen Boss||12||56kg||84|
|9||23x2111x7||AKARI||Brad Widdup||Christian Reith||11||56kg||81|
|10||612x522x||BETCHA FLYING||Chris Waller||Jason Collett||10||56kg||–|
|11||211×1||HEART OF THE OAK||Gerald Ryan||Tim Clark||3||56kg||73|
|12||0x21346x5||EMERALDS||John Sargent||Ben Melham||8||56kg||70|
|13||3x123x||SAAS FEE||Gerald Ryan||Joshua Parr||9||56kg||70|
|14||76x22917x||ASPECT RATIO||John Sargent||Andrew Adkins||4||56kg||64|
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