A slashing run for second in Saturday’s Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) at Randwick has confirmed to trainer Jamie Richards that he has exciting kiwi three-year-old Probabeel spot on for her major campaign assignment in a fortnight.
Probabeel will tackle the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) at the venue on October 5 with Richards delighted with how his charge came through her latest appearance. “We are very happy with her run on Saturday and she appears to have bounced through it well,” Richards said. “She left half a dipper of feed last night, which was to be expected, but she was very bright in herself this (Sunday) morning.”
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy was also delighted with the run after the Savabeel filly got back on the inner in the early stages before charging home to miss victory by the barest of margins behind the Chris Waller-trained Funstar. “It was a really good run, a good last furlong,’’ McEvoy said. “Obviously another two or three hops and she gets them. “She goes out to the mile now for the Flight Stakes and it’s going to be a great race for her.”
From his vantage point on course, Richards wasn’t sure about the final result as the runners hit the finish line locked together. “I wasn’t sure if we had got there, I was hoping we had, but even though we got beaten it was still a terrific effort,” he said. “She got back a little further than we had expected but hit the line powerfully which augurs well for the step up to the mile in the Flight Stakes. “She is going to be very competitive at the mile so as long as she makes the progress we think she will, it is all go for her.”
Richards could be placed in a unique position for a New Zealand-based trainer on October 5 where he could line up the favourite in three Group 1 events, with two of those at Royal Randwick. Along with Probabeel contesting the Flight Stakes, he will also produce Te Akau Shark in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) while back in New Zealand superstar mare Melody Belle will attempt to become the first horse to win the Hawke’s Bay Triple Crown when she takes on the Group 1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings.
The scenario has left Richards in a minor quandary about his travel plans for the day. “It would be something quite special albeit something of a logistical challenge,” Richards said. “There is water to go under the bridge before then but we are just sorting out travel plans and the like at the moment. “Obviously the opportunity with Melody Belle is amazing. However, we need to do what is right for all the horses concerned so we will work that out in the next few days.”
Richards reported that Melody Belle had come through her Group 1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) success in fine style and had travelled home from Hastings to Te Akau Racing’s Matamata base in good order. “She looks great this morning and is a happy horse after the run,” he said. “We know just what a class mare she is and Opie (Bosson) looked after her once she got clear of them in the home straight. “She can have an easy day or two in the paddock now before we get serious about the last day at Hastings.”