Bowman backs Flit in Surround face-offThursday 27 February 202
Hugh Bowman has declared he would not swap Flit for any other filly in the Group One Surround Stakes despite his healthy respect for favourite and chief rival Funstar.
The pair is set to clash for the first time at Randwick on Saturday after pursuing different spring paths with Flit winning the Group One Thousand Guineas in Melbourne while Funstar dominated Surround rival Probabeel in the Flight Stakes in Sydney.
Despite the James Cummings-trained Flit's achievements as a spring three-year-old, Bowman feels she has gone to another level this preparation.
"Funstar has to be respected. She stamped herself as clearly the best filly that raced in Sydney in the spring," Bowman said.
"I would have thought she might have had the wood on Flit in the spring but I'm not sure that will be the case this time.
"It is a good race but I wouldn't swap Flit for anything else, even though I do have a healthy respect for them all."
Early markets have also singled out the pair with Funstar narrowly holding sway at $3.40 with the TAB on Thursday, ahead of Flit at $3.60.
While the Chris Waller-trained favourite has not raced since October, Flit has a dashing Light Fingers Stakes victory on her autumn resume.
Sporting blinkers for the first time, the Godolphin filly raced on the speed and quickly put a sharp field of horses to the sword, scoring by almost two lengths.
It was a performance that convinced Bowman Flit will be a major force this autumn.
"I know I did trial her but when I saw her at the races under saddle I was just so impressed with her physical development and she's still got a bit to go to fill out that frame," Bowman said.
"She is a serious filly and I think the blinkers really did the trick too."
Waller is also upbeat ahead of the return of Funstar, who won the Tea Rose Stakes over Saturday's course and distance in the spring.
He admits she will need luck from a wide draw but has faith she is good enough to overcome it.
"She has certainly come back well and I am looking forward to seeing her run on Saturday," Waller said.
The two Godolphin fillies who finished behind Flit in the Light Fingers, Lyre for trainer Anthony Freedman and Golden Slipper winner Kiamichi, will both line up in Surround.
Jamie Richards has brought New Zealander Probabeel across the Tasman for her second Sydney campaign, while unbeaten Victorian How Womantic is an early scratching.