Finbarr justified some inspired support when he produced a brave effort to take out the Millennium Hotels & Resorts Premier Open at Riccarton today.
Backed into favouritsm, the Falkirk gelding was on the toe as he made a belated entrance to the parade ring before the race. That nervous energy was put to good use by rider Lee Callaway as he bounced him out from a wide barrier to find a handy place behind the early speed, albeit three-wide without cover.
Callaway pushed Finbarr forward at the 400-metre mark and he responded gamely to wear down pacemaker Irish Excuse in the final stages as he score by a length, with Shaara finishing resolutely to grab third and complete a Southland-trained trifecta.
Finbarr’s trainer Gay Robinson had the Gr. 3 Winter Cup as the four-year-old’s carnival target, but he failed to gain a start. Today’s victory proved a handy consolation for his trainer who also shares in the ownership of the horse.
“We’re starting to realise he could be a good horse,” Robinson said. “It was a good ride by Lee as he had to waste hard to make the weight.”
Robinson is undecided on plans for Finbarr, who was a $50,000 purchase from the Windsor Park Stud draft at the 2016 New Zealand Bloodstock Ready to Run Sale. She indicated a brief spell may be the preferred option ahead of a decision on where the horse will get the chance to add to the five wins he has produced from 17 starts to date.