The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The Chris Waller-trained Group 1 winning mare Funstar is tipped to return to her best at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday as the second-up favourite for the 2020 Theo Marks Stakes.
Due to run as Race 7 on The Run To The Rose Day, the Group 2 $200,000 Iron Jack Theo Marks Stakes (1300m) features an 11-horse field led in betting by Adelaide four-year-old Funstar.
Best known for her Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) win last spring, she is after he first victory since taking out the Group 2 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) in the wet at Rosehill back in mid-March when turning the tables on her Surround Stakes conqueror Probabeel.
Runner-up against the older mares as a filly in April’s Group 1 Queen Of The Turf Stakes (1600m), Funstar resumed at Randwick on August 22 in the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m).
She finished worse than midfield when sixth, but was still under two lengths beaten doing her best work late with improvement to come over the extra distance on Saturday according to Waller.
“We lay our cards on the table and if there is a problem, we let you know but Funstar is working very well and has not given me any sign or indication she hasn’t come back,” the Hall of Famer told Racenet this week.
“Her first-up run looked ‘plain’ but I don’t think she is a 1200m horse and giving away a good start to decent sprinters made it hard. I thought through the line she was actually quite good
“I feel she can run very well on Saturday and although it is only another 100m, a top four finish would suggest she is spot on to peak for the Epsom Handicap over the mile.”
As is the theme in the Sydney races this time of year, Waller has a powerhouse record in the Theo Marks Stakes having won four of the past seven editions including last year’s race when Perth star Arcadia Queen was in his care.
The dangers joining her on single-figures in the markets are the in-form Kris Lees-trained Special Reward ($4.20) and Wild Planet ($5.50) drawn either side of the favourite in barriers six and four respectively.
Special Reward went out a back-to-back Group 3 winner in the autumn and caught the eye first-up in the Show County running only a half-length back third.
He comes back in weight for the Theo Marks on Saturday and is another proven second-up performer (5:3-0-0) with genuine winning claims.
Wild Planet represents Hawkes Racing and also comes via a first-up run in the Show County Quality when 2.2 lengths back eighth in the blanket finish, the form of which the bookies are tipping this weekend.
Outside the top three the other best in Theo Marks Stakes betting this season include the rails-drawn Niccanova ($10) and classy top-weight Tyzone ($12) who ran third and first respectively in Brisbane’s Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) during the winter.
2020 Theo Marks Stakes Field
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||6436x7751x||TYZONE||Toby & Trent Edmonds||Jim Byrne||3||58.5kg||109|
|2||1412×23226||NICCANOVA||Craig Carmody||Regan Bayliss||1||57.5kg||107|
|3||1x56x211x3||SPECIAL REWARD||Kris Lees||Nash Rawiller||6||57kg||106|
|4||04210x115x||RANIER||James Cummings||Jason Collett||8||56kg||104|
|5||211x2142x6||FUNSTAR||Chris Waller||James McDonald||5||55kg||106|
|6||231x7410x8||WILD PLANET||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Tommy Berry||4||54kg||98|
|7||11012x043x||CRACK ON CRACK ON (GB)||Gary & John Moore||Glen Boss||10||54kg||96|
|8||111×1||FENDER||Brett Cavanough||Jean Van Overmeire (a)||11||54kg||73|
|9||21850x686x||DUCA VALENTINOIS (IRE)||James Cummings||Ms Rachel King||2||53.5kg||99|
|10||1515×08014||SIGNORE FOX||Peter & Paul Snowden||Jeff Penza||7||53kg||98|
|11||1x11123x||RIODINI (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||9||53kg||96|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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