There was no love for Tofane in Saturday’s...
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.
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.”
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.
2020 Bill Ritchie Handicap Results
|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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