Quality galloper Probabeel will kick off her summer campaign in Melbourne this Saturday when she contests the Group 3 Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield. The four-year-old Savabeel mare travelled to Australia last week in preparation for a three-race assignment culminating in the A$5m All Star Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley on March 13.
Trainer Jamie Richards is pleased with how his charge has settled into her new surroundings as she goes about her work before her campaign opener this weekend. “She will be nominated for the 1200 Group Three this weekend, which is a nice way to kick her off over there,” he said. “We just want to get her going properly and the 1200m is the best option for her.
“She has been there about ten days and has settled in well. She has done plenty of travelling now, so she knows what it is all about.”
Richards has two options in mind for Probabeel’s second start, which will depend on how she performs on Saturday. “Depending on how she goes, she will either go to the Futurity (Group 1, 1400m) back at Caulfield on the 20th or to the Frances Tressady Stakes (Group 3, 1400m) the following week,” he said. “Then it will be the All-Star Mile on March 13.
“We haven’t been following how the public voting is going for the All Star Mile, but I’d like to think she was up there.”
The top ten horses as voted by the public receive a guaranteed place in the rich 1600m event with Probabeel currently lying in eighth place with 2663 votes, on a leaderboard currently headed by West Australian mare Arcadia Queen (6821).
Richards is also preparing for Group 1 New Zealand Thousand Guineas (1600m) winner Kahma Lass to make her Australian debut in Sydney next week. “Kahma Lass trialled up nicely at Rosehill in a very hot heat last week behind Nature Strip and Bivouac.
“She won’t have to meet them as we will be keeping her to her own sex and age group over there, with her first run being at Randwick on the 13th in the Light Fingers Stakes (Group 2, 1200m).”
Richards also reported that champion mare Melody Belle had come through her win in the Group 1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) in fine fashion, with the Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) at Te Rapa in a fortnight her next target. “She is good after Saturday and we are happy with her,” he said.
“Considering how long she had been off the scene and her first run back being at the mile, it was a really good effort. “The best part of her race was the last 100m where she pulled out a margin on them, which augurs well for going 2000m at her next start. “The 2000m is her preferred trip these days so I’m looking forward to her stepping up to that distance at Te Rapa.”
Richards will also have another Group One prize in the back of his mind when promising three-year-old Maasir tackles a rating 65 2100m contest at Te Rapa on Wednesday. The Proisir gelding holds a nomination for the Group 1 Vodafone New Zealand Derby (2400m) in March, with Richards looking for an indication he is ready to step up to that challenge.
“We’re a little bit light in respect of the Derby this year, but I’m hoping Maasir can put his hand up as a candidate when he runs this week,” he said. “If he could win then he might well run in the Avondale Guineas (Group 2, 2200m) next, but we will just have to see how we get on.
“We also have Perfect Scenario in the Derby, who ran fifth in the Karaka 3YO Classic (1600m). We think he can stay a bit, so he is another contender for us, but at this stage that is mainly the two we have for the race.”
Talented three-year-old Brando also holds a Derby nomination but will instead travel to Melbourne this week where he will tackle the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) on February 13 before his main mission, the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) in March.