G1 Season Reflections – Probabeel
22 Jul 2021
Probabeel (4 m Savabeel – Far Fetched, by Pins) won two Group Ones this season, both in Australia.
In October, she won the iconic Epsom Handicap (Gr. 1, 1600m) and, February, the Futurity Stakes (Gr. 1, 1400m), while also winning the Bill Ritchie Handicap (Gr. 3, 1400m), Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes (Gr. 3, 1200m), and finishing second in the Show County (Gr. 3, 1200m) and Queen of the Turf Stakes (Gr. 1, 1600m).
After winning the Surround Stakes (Gr. 1, 1400m) in February 2020 at Royal Randwick, Probabeel scored emphatically in the Bill Ritchie Handicap (Gr. 3, 1400m) a fortnight before the Epsom and started $6.50 third favourite.
Trainer Jamie Richards had two wishes for Probabeel heading into the Epsom: good ground and a decent draw.
While getting the footing (Good4), the draw (15) was unfavourable, but after jumping well rider Kerrin McEvoy positioned her fifth, albeit a touch wide. After travelling sweetly throughout, she levelled at the 300m, took over a furlong out, and proceeded to power away from a host of cracking opponents.
At the line, Probabeel had a length to spare over arch rival Funstar (Adelaide) and another Kiwi, Riodini (Proisir), running the race of his life in third. The time was a sizzling 1:32.8.
“It’s hard to find the right words to describe the win by Probabeel in the Epsom,” Richards said.
“It feels just unbelievable. It was a hearty and heady ride by Kerrin (McEvoy). He was positive from the barrier and ended up in front of midfield. It was probably the winning of the race being a bit closer, there on the corner, and she really sprinted well to win with authority.
“We’d put a lot of thought about getting her into the race with the right weight and 52.5kgs was a really nice weight for her to carry.
“Ashley Handley looks after her, loves her, and overall it’s been a wonderful day. For Melody Belle to gain her 11th Group One win and then cap the day winning the Epsom is hard to beat, and I couldn’t be any more proud of the team.”
On to the Futurity…where Probabeel got them again at Caulfield.
Having resumed on the course a fortnight earlier with a brilliant victory in the Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes (Gr. 3, 1200m), Probabeel produced a gigantic effort to win the Futurity Stakes (Gr. 1, 1400m).
Teamed up again with Damian Lane, she had to settle for racing three wide in sixth after beginning from barrier nine. Yet despite chasing a genuine pace and eased wide on straightening, it was apparent when quickening to the leaders a furlong out that she had their measure.
Kept tight in the market, Probabeel returned $3.30 & $1.40 and ran the 1400 metres on good footing in a polished 1:22.7.
“We finished third in the race last year with Melody Belle and to win with Probabeel is very special,” said trainer Jamie Richards.
“It’s been won by some great gallopers over the years and New Zealand trained horses have succeeded recently with Mufhasa, Turn Me Loose, and now Probabeel.
“I’m thrilled again for Brendan and Jo (Lindsay) and everyone at Cambridge Stud. She’s flying their colours against the best and I couldn’t be happier.”
Probabeel recorded the second and ninth group one wins, respectively, of the season for Richards.
A history making filly in January 2020 when becoming the first to win the $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (Restricted Listed, 1600m), a year on from the $1m Karaka Million 2YO (Restricted Listed, 1200m), Probabeel has been immensely talented from the outset.
A naturally brilliant galloper, with the physique to continue improving, her Rolls Royce potential has been vindicated and winning three Group Ones, all in Australia, is testament to how good she is.
Purchased by David Ellis CNZM for $380,000 as a yearling at Karaka, from the draft of Waikato Stud, Probabeel has registered some extraordinary performances on the race track, and become a jewel in the crown for owners Brendan Lindsay MNZM and Jo Lindsay (Cambridge Stud).
She has now won 10 of her 23 starts, including seven seconds, and NZ$3.3 million prize money.
Probabeel was bred by Garry Chittick at Waikato Stud. Her sire is six-time Champion Stallion Savabeel (Zabeel), out of a mare named Far Fetched, by Pins (Snippets), who twice won the Centaine Award as leading NZ-based sire for global progeny earnings.
Physically, far from a compact natural running two-year-old, Probabeel was lengthy, sleek, leggy, and filly with plenty of quality and scope. A combination, with an element of class, that enabled her to reach the top as a two-year-old and keep improving to this day, as a four-year-old, with many feeling that she is still to reach full maturity.
Probabeel is widely regarded as one of the best horses currently racing in Australasia.
In January this year, Richards completed the fastest training century in New Zealand, bettering the previous record by nearly three months. February saw the young trainer break the domestic stakes record of 25 in a season, and in April he broke the national record of wins (143) in a season.
He currently has 160 wins for 2020-21, including 15 Group Ones among 40 black-type victories (one with either group or listed status).
Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM, the leading buyer of yearlings for the 16th consecutive year at Karaka, purchased all seven Group One winners that Jamie Richards trained this season, and 11 of the 16 individual stakes winners.