Probabeel is on target to fly the Kiwi flag in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) and the A$5 million All-Star Mile (1600m) after proving a class above her rivals in Saturday’s Group 3 Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield.
The multiple Group One winner carried 60kgs in the mares race and travelled wide throughout from the outside barrier before forging clear in the straight under jockey Damian Lane.
The Jamie Richards-trained daughter of Savabeel is now likely to head to the Futurity Stakes at Caulfield in a fortnight before a tilt at the All-Star Mile which is at Moonee Valley this year.
“She really stepped up to the mark there today and it is very exciting for the whole team,” Richards said. “She has got a brilliant turn of foot. She was unlucky not to win first-up last preparation in Sydney over 1200m and then she came out and won the Bill Ritchie (Group 3, 1400m) and obviously progressed to win the Epsom (Group 1, 1600m).
“We know she can sprint well fresh and that is why we kept her to the 1200m and a little bit easier class. “I thought it was a very nice ride from Damian. I said to him this morning to leave his options open as it is very hard to win from last. He rode a very nice race, even though she was deep without cover.”
The astute Richards resisted the temptation to run the star mare in the Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) on the same program, sticking to what works best for the horse.
“I was a little bit worried that if we ran her in the Orr first-up there was a chance of flattening her. “They put up a big run at 1400m sometimes and it can take a little bit out of them. Hence why we stuck to the 1200m trying to replicate what we were able to achieve in the spring and I am really glad that we did that.
“I think the Futurity is a nice race for her. It will be two weeks into the Futurity and three weeks into the All-Star Mile which is what we did with Melody Belle last year.”
Lane said Probabeel, who firmed into +170 favourite by race time, was simply too good for her rivals headed by Paul’s Regret (+1800) and Snapdancer (+180) and she was a different proposition on race day as opposed to trial day.
“Her trial at Geelong was just fair without the blinkers but Jamie assured me that’s how she can go,” he said. “I watched a trial from her previous preparation and that’s how it looked. She’s been good in her trackwork since then and obviously way too good today.”
“I wanted to ride her quiet and hit the line. There looked a lot more speed on paper than what eventuated.
“There was probably two or three there that didn’t go forward who might’ve. Halfway down the side I thought I’m going to do more harm than good trying to go back so I just let her stride and she had too much on them.”
Probabeel, who sports the colours of Cambridge Stud’s Brendan and Jo Lindsay, was purchased by Te Akau’s David Ellis for $380,000 out of the Waikato Stud draft at the 2018 New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Yearling Sale.
She has now won nine of her 20 starts with a further 6 placings and has earnings of A$2,563,006.