Foxplay unleashes powerful finish to win Group 2 sprint

Kerrin McEvoy was starting to worry. Hot favourite Foxplay looked to be struggling many lengths from the lead.


The champion jockey felt for the whip on the home turn and the grey filly looked out of contention in the Group 2 $200,000 Phar Lap Stakes (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.


But within 50m, Foxplay went from struggling to travelling. She ran into a dead end, forcing McEvoy to change course in the straight but she found clear galloping room she unleashed a Winx-like finish to score a stunning win.


“Foxplay is a proper little racehorse,’’ McEvoy said. “She is only small in stature but very brave.


“I was back a little further than I liked and I was a bit concerned coming to the corner when I had to ask her to pick up.


“Then she got up and going, we ran into a traffic jam, and I had to ease and go back but then she went straight away. It was a massive win.’’


Champion mare Winx won the Phar Lap Stakes two years ago with a brilliant last-to-first effort and trainer Chris Waller has another emerging filly in Foxplay demonstrating similar outstanding qualities. Foxplay ($1.80 favourite) descended on Zenalicious ($21) to score a neck victory with Comic Set ($10) one-and-a-quarter lengths away third.


Star Thoroughbreds syndicator Denise Martin went to $170,000 to secure Foxplay as a yearling but that has proved an astute buy with the filly taking her earnings to nearly $500,000 with her fourth win in 11 starts.


Waller was in Melbourne on Saturday and stable representative Charlie Duckworth admitted he is unsure what Foxplay’s autumn campaign may entail after her super effort.


“That’s the $1 million question,’’ Duckworth said of Foxplay’s next start. “But it’s a good problem to have. Whether she stays around this trip, where she obviously has a serious turn of foot, or whether we step her up in trip, I’ll leave those decisions to Chris.’’


Duckworth revealed he had “just about sold out” on Foxplay’s winning chances when the filly looked to be in trouble on the home turn.


“I hope Kerrin wasn’t in the same amount of panic as I was at the turn,’’ he said. “It was a arilliant victory. She has done really well to pick herself up off the turf and rattle on home. She had to change course with 250m to run so it was a really gutsy, really game effort.” – The Daily Tepegraph