The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
Jamie Richards’ brilliant mare Probabeel showed true guts over 2000m on a firm track at Caulfield Racecourse to score the upset win in the www.races.com.au/races/group-1/caulfield-stakes defeating Nonconformist and the beaten odds-on favourite Zaaki ahead of the $5 million Ladbrokes Cox Plate in a fortnight.
Following the late scratching of Nickajack Cave (5) from the Might And Power Stakes field, just five horses went around in the traditional Group 1 Cox Plate lead-up.
It was Annabel Neasham’s last start Underwood Stakes winning European import Zaaki who dominated betting as the odds-on favourite, but in a thrilling edition of the weight-for-age showdown he was disappointing ahead of his Grand Final at The Valley on October 23.
Zaaki, ridden by Craig Williams, settled third in the run but looked to be over-racing the early stages on the outside or Probabeel who in-form hoop Brett Prebble had tracking beautifully fourth the inside.
The roughie-priced mare No Effort led the field around getting the contested lead with the autumn’s Australian Cup winner Homesman tracking second her outside and the Grahame Begg-trained Naturalism Stakes winner Nonconformist last throughout.
It was only a moderate pace with no change to their positions until they approached the turn for home and quickly increased the tempo.
Homesman really let down and took up the lead at the 450m, in front around the turn looking to steal the show with Zaaki coming up on his outside.
When the quickened so quickly, Zaaki did not look comfortable and he struggled down the straight getting caught between horses and racing flat.
Probabeel meanwhile drove through, while Nonconformist made up all the ground from the back and those two fought it out the final stages in a thrilling photo-finish.
It was the New Zealand-trained daughter of Savabeel, Probabeel, who got her head down in time to post her fourth Group 1 win and turn the tables on Zaaki who beat her home by two lengths over 1800m in the Underwood at Sandown.
“She’s all guts,” winning hoop Prebble, now a 34-time Group 1 winner, said post-race.
“She had nothing left. I was out (the final 100m), but every time I asked, she kept trying her heart out.
“She’s all guts and determination. It was a good finish.”
Probabeel now gets the chance to improve on her seventh to Sir Dragonet in last year’s Cox Plate results with the five-year-old looking on track for the Australasian weight-for-age championship.
Nonconformist meanwhile was outstanding running a nose back second ahead of Saturday week’s Group 1 $5 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) back at the track over the mile and a half for which he is into $6 through Ladbrokes.com.au in futures betting to win.
As for Zaaki, Neasham will be feeling the pressure to get the horse to bounce back in two weeks’ time.
The all-in Cox Plate 2021 betting markets at race sponsor Ladbrokes.com.au were thrown into disarray following the upset Might And Power Stakes results.
Zaaki has eased out from $1.80 to $2.70 but retains favouritism, while Probabeel is into $8 equal with Verry Elleegant having had her quote slashed from $21.
2021 Might And Power Stakes Results
|1||5||PROBABEEL (NZ)||Jamie Richards||Brett Prebble||1||57kg||$8|
|2||3||NONCONFORMIST||Grahame Begg||Jordan Childs||0.1L||3||59kg||$16|
|3||2||ZAAKI (GB)||Annabel Neasham||Craig Williams||1.85L||4||59kg||$1.28F|
|4||1||HOMESMAN (USA)||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Jye McNeil||1.95L||2||59kg||$11|
|5||6||NO EFFORT||Gavin Bedggood||Beau Mertens||7.7L||5||57kg||$41|
|4||NICKAJACK CAVE (IRE)||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||0|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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