The Gay Robinson-trained Finbarr justified some inspired support when he produced a brave effort to take out the Millennium Hotels & Resorts Premier Open (1400m) at Riccarton.
Backed into race-favourite, the four-year-old 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 as rider Lee Callaway bounced him out nicely from a wide barrier to find a handy place behind the early speed, albeit three-wide without cover.
Callaway asked his charge to come into the race at the 400m mark and he responded gamely to wear down pacemaker Irish Excuse in the final stages as he scored by a neat length with Shaara finishing resolutely to steal third.
Robinson had set her charge for the Gr.3 Winter Cup (1600m) on the first day of the carnival but he failed to gain a start after being placed on the ballot for the race. Saturday’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,” she said.
“It was a good ride by Lee as he had to waste hard to make the weight.”
“It was a great result for Lee and for us.”
Robinson was undecided on future plans for Finbarr who was a $50,000 purchase from the Windsor Park Stud draft during the 2016 New Zealand Bloodstock Ready To Run sale. She indicated a brief spell was the preferred option before a decision was made on where the horse would look to add to the five wins he has produced from his first 17 starts. – NZ Racing Desk