Probabeel crowned Horse of the Year

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Outstanding mare has joined an elite club with her second successive New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Award.

The now retired daughter of Savabeel, who is preparing for life as a broodmare, gained more than half of the 57 votes cast to retain her title.

Probabeel again was named Horse of the Year at a function in Hamilton on Sunday evening and since the award was introduced in 1971 is the 10th horse to be a multiple winner.

Sunline took the title four times with Show Gate, Rough Habit, , Seachange, Mufhasa, , and Melody Belle the other dual winners.

Probabeel's achievement headlined a stellar evening for the powerhouse Te Akau operation as she was also named Champion Middle-Distance performer and acknowledged as the Champion Three-Year-Old, Maven Belle the Champion Two-Year-Old and Belle En Rouge and Self Obsession were NZB Filly of the Year co-winners.

While Te Akau's equine stars were honoured, so too were key past and present staff members.

Former Head Trainer , now plying his trade in Hong Kong, was the Trainer of the Year having won the 2021/22 premiership, Joe Kamaruddin claimed the Apprentices' Premiership and Nicole Shailer, now in the employ of current Te Akau trainer Mark Walker, was the Stablehand of the Year.

“We finished up with 10 awards and it was really well run by New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing and everybody seemed to have a great night,” Te Akau chief David Ellis said.

“I am incredibly proud of the whole Te Akau team, it was a very happy evening. We had a lot of our senior staff there and it was fantastic for them to see all of their hard work paying off.

“It's not much fun working with horses at this time of the year when it's cold and wet and they all do it because they love the horses. It was great for us all to get there together and celebrate.”

Probabeel was prepared at Matamata by Richards, but did all her racing in the 2021-22 season in Australia, as she had the previous year. She had three wins and a second from her six starts, all in Group company.

The Savabeel mare won the  Might And Power Stakes (2000m) at the Melbourne spring carnival and beat subsequent Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) runner-up Nonconformist, with glamour galloper Zaaki third.

At her previous start, Probabeel had split Zaaki and Group 1 Cantala Stakes (1600m) winner in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m).

Probabeel had begun her campaign by winning the Group 3 Cockram Stakes (1200m) with 60kg and was beaten by just 1.2l when fifth in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m). At her only other spring start she also finished fifth in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).

The mare then won the Group 3 Geoffrey Belmaine Stakes (1200m) with 60kg when resuming in Melbourne in February, but suffered a ligament injury soon after and was retired from racing.

Probabeel, who earned $4.5 million in stakes and was raced by Cambridge Stud proprietors Brendan and Jo Lindsay, will be mated with the Cambridge Stud shuttle stallion Almanzor this year.

Probabeel was bred by Waikato Stud's Garry Chittick and was a $380,000 buy for Ellis at New Zealand Bloodstock's National Yearling Sale. The Lindsays had been the underbidders at and subsequently bought her outright.

The Cambridge Stud principals also had a second Group One winner in Australia during the 2021-22 season, with Pinarello claiming the Queensland Derby (2400m) and they won the Owner of the Year award for the third successive time.

Their New Zealand-based team won 30 races and also included dual Group Three winner Sword of State and Karaka Million winner Dynastic.

Two-time Group One winner Imperatriz dominated the voting in the three-year-old section while stablemate Maven Belle was crowned Champion Two-Year-old.

Levante posted two wins, second and a fourth from her four starts in Group One company to be a clear winner in the Sprinter-Miler category.

The Chosen One, a Group One winner of the Thorndon Mile (1600m) also measured up to the leading Australian stayers and was named Champion Stayer for the third successive year.

He finished third in the weight-for-age Group 1 Tancred Stakes (2400m), was runner-up in the Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) and fifth in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).

Central Districts trainer , who has enjoyed a long and successful career, received the prestigious award for Outstanding Contribution to Racing and Paul O'Sullivan, who followed a stellar New Zealand career with a lengthy training stint in Hong Kong, earned the Outstanding Global Achievement award.

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