QUALITY sprinter Fully Funded made it three consecutive wins when taking out the $50,000 Counties Bowl on Saturday.
Fresh up from a spell having ended its winter campaign with two wins, the six-year-old was tenacious with a big weight on its back and now the Group 1 Railway Stakes at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day looks the logical target.
In-form jockey and one of New Zealand’s best front-running riders Sam Spratt in the saddle, the $8.10 hope at CrownBet settled on the speed and looked a shot duck in the straight as Go Nicholas and Heroic Valour loomed with intent, but the class factor kicked in late.
“Gosh he’s tough, carrying that weight,” Spratt said. “I was a bit worried halfway down the straight that the weight was going to pull him down.
“They came up to him and he dug deep again, so it was a really tough effort.”
Spratt, who is coming off a tremendous New Zealand Cup carnival where she won the NZ Cup and 2000 Guineas on the same day, sees no reason why Fully Funded won’t handle the rise in class for the Railway.
“He keeps stepping up and the way he’s going there’s no reason why he can’t beat them, you don’t know until you try,” said Spratt, who took part in the Counties Cup day charity golf event on Friday. “I went brilliantly, I’m absolutely smashing it,” she quipped.
Winning trainer Joanne Surgenor also believes her gelding could win the Railway with a lighter weight.
“Definitely (on going to the Railway), we’re laughing,” Surgenor said. “He has a heart this horse, I’m so proud of him.”
Fully Funded races best fresh up, but with over a month until the Ellerslie feature, it might need another run.
“He probably will need one more run, he’s best fresh, but I might have to put another run into him,” she said.
“Whether I go to the trials or not, I don’t know yet.”
Fully Funded is now a $14 chance for the Railway with bookmakers.