Favourite draws wide in Golden Eagle

Chris Waller mare Funstar remains favourite for the $7.5 million Golden Eagle despite drawing the outside barrier for the big race at Rosehill.

The Epsom Handicap runner-up eased slightly from $4.20 to $4.40 in TAB fixed odds markets but is still a clear favourite over $6.50 chance Alligator Blood.

The Queenslander also came up with a tricky gate when the barrier draw for the feature was conducted on Sydney Harbour on Tuesday.

Funstar has barrier 22 in a capacity field of 18 plus four emergencies and will start from gate 18, while Alligator Blood has drawn 15.

Charlie Duckworth, racing manager for the Waller stable, acknowledged the wide gate wasn’t ideal but still believed the multiple stakes-winning four-year-old was good enough to overcome the adverse draw.

“It’s less than ideal in a very competitive race but she had an awkward draw in the Epsom and the horse that beat her (Probabeel) isn’t there on Saturday,” Duckworth told Sky Thoroughbred Central.

Funstar boasts five wins and five seconds from twelve race appearances, with her last victory being over Probabeel on a heavy track in the Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill in February.

“She relishes the wet and will be advantaged racing back on her home track,” Duckworth said.

Rosehill was rated in the heavy 9 category on Tuesday and further showers are expected leading up to Saturday’s meeting, which also features the $1 million Yes Yes Yes Stakes (1300m) and the $500,000 Rosehill Gold Cup (2000m).

The Waller stable is also represented by Reloaded and Subpoenaed in the Golden Eagle and will be looking for back-to-back wins after Kolding took out the first edition of the 1500m race last year.

Funstar will be ridden by Tommy Berry and she is on the same path as Kolding, who after winning last year’s Epsom Handicap was also given a four week freshen up heading into the race.

“Tommy is in love with her. He galloped her yesterday (Monday) morning and you could barely get him away from her,” Duckworth said.

Ten per cent of prize money from the Golden Eagle will be donated to charity organisations nominated by the connections of each runner.

The owners of Funstar have decided on the Redkite organisation as their chosen charity.