The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Chris Waller’s seemingly forgotten filly Fangirl resumed right where she left off knocking off her odds-on stablemate Espiona in a great 2022 Light Fingers Stakes result ahead of a mouth-watering rematch in the upcoming Group 1 Surround Stakes.
Throughout the week the previously undefeated daughter of Extreme Choice, Oaks’ Day Desirable Stakes winner by six and a half-lengths Espiona, had been all the media wanted to talk about ahead of her return in the Group 2 $200,000 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.
Waller however had warned fans not to discount his other first-up runner in the event Fangirl, the daughter of Sebring having won three on the trot in the spring including an impressive three-length win over the boys at Flemington on Derby Day in the Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m).
“She’s a talented filly and we saw what she did down at Flemington on Derby Day,” Waller told Sky Thoroughbred Central after the win.
“I think she won with a bit of class today too.”
Ridden in the Light Fingers by Hugh Bowman, Fangirl went around at double-figures getting a lovely run with no pressure at the back from a good draw as Four Moves Ahead with the blinkers on led the field around.
Espiona meanwhile was forced to race wide mid-field with no cover early.
Four Moves Ahead had the lead around the turn onto the straight, but a wall of fillies was coming in a great late race.
Robert & Luke Price’s eventual third placegetter Jamaea presented as a threat laying it down to the leader and briefly hitting the front, but Espiona lifted and went for home a fair way out.
The favourite was a sitting shot late and a slicing run through the centre saw Fangirl overtake in the final 50m for an all-Waller quinella.
“I didn’t anticipate that happening (finding the favourite’s back on straightening),” Bowman told the media post-victory.
“I didn’t know where James (McDonald) was going to be in the run. I just wanted to ride my filly, particularly being first up with a vision of this filly stretching out over longer distances.
“I wanted to ensure her last furlong was her best and that she settled in a good rhythm early. It panned out beautifully for me. I didn’t have to make any rash decisions.
“It did get a bit squeezy at the 200m mark because when Tommy went for home on Jamaea, she is a class horse, and I thought I’m not going to sprint with these two.
“They both hit their top and I was still there lingering. When they peaked on their runs my filly was there to capitalise.
“She is going to improve beautifully from this run and it spells out for a good prep.”
Fangirl and Espiona, who was beaten but not disgraced, are set to face off again in the Group 1 $500,000 Surround Stakes (1400m) back at the track on February 26th.
“Will be interesting to see what comes from the race and how much they both improve,” Waller said.
“I think she’s got a bright future and no disgrace to Espiona for sure.
“I don’t’ think there’s any diverting which is good.
“In two weeks’ time, it’ll be on in the Surround Stakes.”
Nakeeta Jane (2019) was the last filly to complete the Light Fingers Stakes – Surround Stakes double.
Espiona remains the $2.10 favourite in all-in 2022 Surround Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au with Fangirl the $4 second elect.
2022 Light Fingers Stakes Results & Finishing Order
|1||5||FANGIRL||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||5||56kg||$13|
|2||8||ESPIONA||Chris Waller||James McDonald||0.19L||10||56kg||$1.55F|
|3||3||JAMAEA||Robert & Luke Price||Tommy Berry||0.95L||7||56kg||$11|
|4||12||ZOUZARELLA||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Kerrin McEvoy||1.79L||11||56kg||$18|
|5||9||HERESY||James Cummings||Sam Clipperton||1.81L||3||56kg||$31|
|6||4||STARTANTES||Robert Heathcote||Jason Collett||2.14L||13||56kg||$21|
|7||2||HINGED||Chris Waller||Ms Kathy O’Hara||3.5L||9||56kg||$41|
|8||18e||MOKULUA||Clarry Conners||Brock Ryan||3.77L||6||56kg||$81|
|9||7||ARCADED||James Cummings||Ms Rachel King||4.07L||4||56kg||$41|
|10||13||JAL LEI||John O’Shea||Chad Schofield||4.63L||2||56kg||$31|
|11||16e||VON TRAPP||Mark Newnham||Joshua Parr||4.69L||14||56kg||$101|
|12||11||TILIANAM (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Tim Clark||5.84L||1||56kg||$61|
|13||1||FOUR MOVES AHEAD||John Sargent||Nash Rawiller||7.5L||12||56kg||$10|
|14||15||ZETARITA||Kris Lees||Regan Bayliss||8.94L||8||56kg||$101|
|17e||SHE’S ALL CLASS||Chris Waller||0|
|10||FORZANINI||Peter & Paul Snowden||0|
|6||MALLORY||Gerald Ryan & Sterling Alexiou||Tom Sherry (a)||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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