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Michael Hawkes says they will decide as late as possible if Spend makes the trip to Sydney depending on the weather

If Spend bypasses the Group Two Phar Lap Stakes at Rosehill, it will not be because his trainers are afraid to take on gun fillies Funstar and Probabeel.

Co-trainer Michael Hawkes says they will decide as late as possible if Spend makes the trip to Sydney for Saturday’s Group Two feature based on track conditions and weather.

The colt has won two of his four starts, both on rain-affected ground, and the stable has no qualms pitting him against Kiwi filly Probabeel and Group One Flight Stakes winner Funstar if conditions suit.

“Never be scared of anything,” Hawkes said.

“He’s all about the track. For him it’s weather dependant.”

Spend was spelled after he won his debut on a heavy track at Rosehill in July, resuming with a fourth to Caulfield Guineas winner Super Seth in the Manfred Stakes at Caulfield in February.

He followed with a black-type placing in the Zeditave Stakes before winning a three-year-old Handicap at Flemington last weekend.

The horse remained in Melbourne after the victory and Hawkes said a decision would be made on Thursday evening whether to put him on a float to Sydney.

Rosehill was a soft seven on Thursday with possible late showers forecast on race day.

If Spend does not make the trip, the Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) field could be reduced to six runners.

Brad Widdup has indicated Akari will be scratched in preference for the Kembla Grange Classic (1600m) on Friday while Funstar’s trainer Chris Waller has up-and-coming fillies Subpoenaed and Nudge in both races.

Waller has won four of the past five editions of the Phar Lap Stakes, the first with Winx in 2015, and Funstar is odds-on favourite to add to his haul.

“It’s been a good race to us and it’s a nice stepping stone for my horses,” Waller said.

Markets indicate the Phar Lap is a two horse contest between Funstar and Probabeel who have met three times with the ledger two-one in favour of the Waller-trained filly.

 
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