New Zealand filly Probabeel has exacted revenge on arch-rival Funstar and claimed her maiden Group One win in the Surround Stakes at Randwick.
Funstar had Probabeel’s measure in two Sydney spring starts but punters ignored the pair, with Flit starting favourite in Saturday’s 1400m feature for fillies.
Flit ($2.60) was a spent force when the field straightened up with Funstar and Probabeel, both $4.60, making their runs from back in the field.
Funstar got to the front 100m out but Probabeel kept coming to edge her out by a long head.
Xilong ($31) ran well for third after holding up the start because of her reluctance to go into the barrier.
The honours were all with Probabeel, who won the first Group One test of the Sydney autumn an hour before her stablemate Te Akau Shark claimed the second, the Chipping Norton.
The filly is raced by Brendan and Jo Lindsay, who own New Zealand’s famous Cambridge Stud.
“I thought we were in a spot of bother on the corner, she was under the pump, but to her credit she really found the line well and she’s a very exciting filly,” Richards said.
“I knew she had to be somewhere near her absolute best in a good-quality race like this but full credit to the team at home for sending her over in such good order.
“I’m so thrilled to get a winner in these colours for Brendan and Jo.
“She’s going to improve a bit further again as soon as we get up in trip. She’ll go to the Phar Lap then into the Vinery. She’s got a Group One now.”
Probabeel’s jockey Opie Bosson admitted he had a couple of concerns mid-race.
“I just got myself into a little bit of a pocket and hit a bit of a flat spot,” he said.
“I’m just lucky enough that this filly was good enough to get me out of it.
“Otherwise I didn’t want to be coming back in that’s for sure. Just turning in she lost it until we straightened up.
“All credit to Jamie. He does an amazing job with his horses and it’s good to get a Group One winner here in Australia for connections.”
Funstar’s jockey James McDonald is already looking ahead.
“She is absolutely superb the way she has come back. I can’t wait for her next run,” he said.
Glen Boss was also impressed with the Tony and Calvin McEvoy-trained Xilong, who was scratched at the barrier from a race a couple of weeks ago.
“‘She was very good this girl, first up over 140 metres after missing a run,” Boss said.
“I got in the right spot and I thought she was very strong through the line to finish just behind two very good fillies.’