Funstar set to run in the Group Two Phar Lap Stakes

Star New Zealand filly Probabeel is the favourite in first markets on the Group One Coolmore Classic at Rosehill.

Her arch-rival Funstar will stick to three-year-old company in the Group Two Phar Lap Stakes on Saturday’s program.

Probabeel is also nominated for the Phar Lap over 1500m, the same distance as the Group One Coolmore Classic for fillies and mares.

The Chris Waller-trained Funstar and Probabeel from the Jamie Richards stable, have met at Group One level twice with the score one apiece.

Their most recent clash was in the Surround Stakes with Probabeel coming out on top.

Waller will rely on mares Fiesta, Noire and Sweet Scandal in the Coolmore, a race he is yet to win, coming closest when Red Tracer ran second in 2013.

“I just don’t think Funstar is quite ready for the Coolmore,” Waller said.

“It’s not to say we wouldn’t run her in a Doncaster later in the prep but I want to stick to my guns and run her in the Phar Lap, the Vinery and then make a decision after that.”

Of the three mares he has entered, Waller said Sweet Scandal deserved a change of luck with the barriers including gate nine when she ran fourth in the Group Two Guy Walter last start after being posted wide throughout.

“She’s had no luck. She’s had wide draws,” Waller said.

“Fiesta is just over-racing and doing little things wrong and she will be ridden quieter and Noire would be a rough chance.”

The TAB put Probabeel up at $4.50 on Monday ahead of the John Thompson-trained Sweet Deal ($5.50), a close runner-up to the Hawkes Racing-trained Dawn Dawn in the Guy Walter.

The Kris Lees-trained Invincible Gem on 107 is the highest-rated horse among the entries.

Lees’ late father Max Lees holds the race record with five winners – Satin Sand (1986) Quicksilver Cindy (1991) Flitter (1995) Chlorophyll (1996) and Shindig (1998).

Kris Lees ran second last year with El Dorado Dreaming who is scheduled to run again.

Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au