Star mare Probabeel (Savabeel x Far Fetched) was back doing what she does best when winning the Gr.3 Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
At the top of the straight, the Jamie Richards-trained daughter of Savabeel looked like she’d run a nice third, but the four-time Group One winner showed all her grit to close over the top of Flying Mascot and Mariamia to win by a nose carrying 60kg top-weight.
The classy Kiwi mare also won last year’s Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes before going on to win the Gr.1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) a fortnight later and the weight-for-age race back at Caulfield is again on the agenda this year.
Watching from back in New Zealand, Richards was pleased to get the job done as the mare heads for loftier assignments, which also include another tilt at the A$5 million All-Star Mile (1600m), to be run at Flemington on 19 March.
“It was a really good win,” Richards said. “She never really looked like she was going to get there until the last 20 metres, but the track had been playing off nearer the inside and they were scouting wide.
“She struggled to get her momentum up and close off, but when she got to the outside, and got onto her outside leg, she really hit the line strongly.
“She’s got a very good record fresh-up at 1200 metres, and in that sort of race, under the weight scale, it really suits her.
“She’s open to a lot more improvement and we just wanted to follow the path we did with her last year, and she’ll go to the Futurity Stakes, back at Caulfield in a fortnight, in good shape and see if she can win that again too.
“We’ve entrusted Hunter Durrant, from our stables at Matamata, over there with both Probabeel and Kahma Lass and he’s doing a great job.
“I thought Kahma Lass also raced well for fifth, down in the worst of the ground on the inside, and she’ll improve for that. She was pretty big and burly for the fresh-up assignment.
“I was thrilled with the way Probabeel was able to win, keeping the flag flying for New Zealand horses in Australia, and Brett Prebble was pretty excited by it too. We’re looking forward to the rest of her campaign.
Prebble, who formed a good association with Probabeel last spring, was thrilled with the effort given the manner in which the race was run.
“I felt the pace wasn’t that quick but they dropped the hammer before the turn and really made a bit of a sprint home and that’s where she hit a flat patch,” Prebble said.
“But then her stamina and her class kicked in late. It was a good feeling.
“It’s always hard carrying a big weight and she’s a little bit older, too. Her determination and her ability shone through and she’s always a pleasure to ride. I’m lucky to have the opportunity.”
Probabeel, who sports the colours of Cambridge Stud’s Brendan and Jo Lindsay, was purchased by Te Akau principal David Ellis for $380,000 from the Waikato Stud draft at the 2018 New Zealand Bloodstock Karaka Yearling Sale.
The winner of 13 of her 29 starts, with a further eight placings, Probabeel has won A$4.3 million in prizemoney and will be the jewel in the Cambridge Stud crown when she retires to the broodmare paddock in spring. – NZ Racing Desk
MRC Gr.3 Geoffery Bellmaine Stakes (1200m)
WINNER: Probabeel 2016 Bay Mare
BREEDING: Savabeel x Far Fetched (Pins)
BREEDER: G J Chittick, Waikato, NZ
SALES: Sold: 2018 National Yearling Sales - Book 1. Vendor: Waikato Stud, P: Mr DC Ellis; $380,000