2020 Bill Ritchie Winner Probabeel New Epsom Favourite

September 19, 2020

2020 Bill Ritchie Winner Probabeel New Epsom Favourite

Group 1 winning Kiwi mare Probabeel was back to her best with a powerful win in the Bill Ritchie Handicap 2020 on George Main Stakes Day firming into favourite for the upcoming Group 1 Epsom Handicap next month.

Probabeel Horse Form (Photo: Steve Hart) | Races.com.au

Probabeel returned to winning form saluting for the punters in the 2020 Bill Ritchie. Photo: Steve Hart.

Celebrating her first turf triumph since the Group 1 Surround Stakes at the same track and distance back in February as a filly, the now four-year-old daughter of Savabeel beat home the boys in Saturday’s Group 3 $160,000 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) with any hesitation.

Prepared across the Tasman by Matamata-based horseman Jamie Richards, the progressive mare looked fit second-up improving off her first-up second to Roheryn in the Group 3 Show County Quality (1200m) on August 22.

 “She really does so well. She is a lovely mare all the way through since her two-year-old days she has continued on,” Richards told the media post-win. 

“She loves it. She has thrived here (in Sydney).”

Continuing her gun second-up record, the $2.45 favourite was again ridden by triple Melbourne Cup and dual The Everest hoop Kerrin McEvoy whose success in the Bill Ritchie saw him go up to 350 Black-Type wins in Australia.

“Kerrin went out there with a positive mind frame and it just worked out,” Richards said, giving praise to the winning rider.

Fresh off his Group 3 Newcastle Cup victory for Kris Lees on Mugatoo on Friday afternoon, McEvoy gave Probabeel the perfect ride using their nice barrier to get up on the speed early.

Without much pace in the race he was able to sit just off the front, but remained close enough to pounce on the straight.

Probabeel drew level with the front-runner Cuba at the 200m before edging clear and defeating John Thompson’s lightweight by a length on the line.

In third rounding out the Bill Ritchie trifecta was the John Sargent-trained Brandenburg.

It was a strong win in the end from the top elect who is tipped to produce an even better performance getting out over a mile for her potential next-up target in the Group 1 $1 million Epsom Handicap (1600m) on October 3.

“That’s the plan,” Richards confirmed.

McEvoy is confident the Epsom would suit the mare following her performance in the Bill Ritchie.

“It’s nice to have her back winning, I’ve ridden her a bit, more so this time in. I’ve had five seconds on her, so it’s about time we’ve had a win together. Today looked ideal for her, second up out a little bit in trip, they’ve done a great job with her over her and Jamie has obviously done a good job from back home,” he said. 

“She’s a lovely mare to ride and she’ll go out to the mile now and prove very hard to beat in the Epsom.

“She’s got a nice weight on her back in the Epsom, they are obviously very competitive, but she goes there with a great chance, she still has a nice improvement to come out of this race today.”

Probabeel has firmed in from $8 to $7 co-favouritism with the Chris Waller-trained Funstar in the all-in 2020 Epsom Handicap odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.

Waller took out the Bill Ritchie – Epsom Handicap double last year with Kolding (2019) who also went on to win the inaugural edition of the $7.5 million The Golden Eagle for four-year-olds.

There are options galore however for Probabeel whose connections may opt to stretch her out over further for a potential shot at Melbourne’s Group 1 $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) on October 24.

Click here for the latest futures Epsom Handicap markets thanks to Ladbrokes.com.au.

2020 Bill Ritchie Handicap Results

Colour Finish No. Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Bar. Weight Penalty Starting Price
1 5 PROBABEEL (NZ) Jamie Richards Kerrin McEvoy 2 57kg $2.45F
2 12 CUBA John Thompson Ms Rachel King 1.3L 4 53kg $12
3 2 BRANDENBURG (NZ) John Sargent Nash Rawiller 2.3L 1 58.5kg $6
4 11 DADOOZDART (GB) Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Tommy Berry 2.4L 3 54kg $81
5 7 RELOADED Chris Waller James McDonald 4.1L 8 55.5kg $6
6 9 GLENALL Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Brock Ryan (a) 4.3L 7 54.5kg $13
7 1 LE ROMAIN Kris Lees Hugh Bowman 5.5L 5 59.5kg $16
8 10 KUBRICK Chris Waller Ms Kathy O’Hara 5.7L 6 54kg $26
9 8 ROHERYN James Cummings Jason Collett 7.7L 9 55kg $7.50
3 QUACKERJACK Mark Newnham Joshua Parr 0
13 NUDGE Chris Waller Ms Kathy O’Hara 0
6 CHIEF IRONSIDE (GB) Kris Lees Regan Bayliss 0
4 THE CANDY MAN Peter & Paul Snowden Tim Clark 0

Table Credit: Racing Australia. 

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