New Zealand Horse of the Year Probabeel is preparing for what will be her final campaign but there is a possibility the outstanding daughter of Savabeel could bow out further abroad than her usual raid to Australia.
The four-time Group One winner will be on a rinse and repeat campaign to Melbourne, where she won the Gr.3 Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes (1200m) and Gr.1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield last autumn before a wet track at Moonee Valley thwarted her All-Star Mile (1600m) chances.
The Jamie Richards-trained mare is set to trial at Matamata next week along with Group One winning stablemate Kahma Lass, who like Probabeel sports the colours of Brendan and Jo Lindsay of Cambridge Stud.
“All things being equal she will fly out in the last week of January to Melbourne with Kahma Lass,” Cambridge Stud chief executive Henry Plumptre told Andrew Bensley on SEN Track.
“They will probably have to run against each other in the Geoffrey Bellmaine.
“We think the Bellmaine is a softer option to kick her off, like we did last year and then she will go to the Futurity. Then if the weather is kind to us, we will run her in the All-Star Mile, which is at Flemington this year.
“What happens after that is a little bit up in the air.
“We have been talking to Nick Smith at Ascot and we have an invitation to go and run in the Queen Anne Stakes (Gr.1, 1600m) on the opening day of Royal Ascot, as opposed to going up to Sydney for the Queen Of The Turf (Gr.1, 1600m), which is what she did last year (when second).”
Plumptre said a trip to Royal Ascot somewhat hinged on the status of New Zealand’s borders, which beyond a handful of citizens fortunate enough to land a quarantine slot, remains for all intents and purposes closed.
“If Prime Minister Ardern continues to muck around with the border in New Zealand and either us or the Lindsays can’t get out, or certainly can’t get back into New Zealand, they wouldn’t go to Ascot and that would mean that they would have to sit at home on the sofa and watch her run and that probably wouldn’t be that palatable,” Plumptre said.
The black and gold checks of the Lindsays were carried to victory in the Gr.1 Diamond Jubilee (1200m) at Royal Ascot by Hello Youmzain two years ago, with the Kiwi owners unable to be on-course owing to the early stages of the global pandemic.
The multiple Group One winning son of Kodiac completed his first season at Cambridge Stud last year.
“We watched Hello Youmzain on the sofa at home in New Zealand, but while there is now, there wasn’t the attachment to him like Probabeel. We want to be there and be part of the lead-up and she’d have to be flying to warrant a trip,” Plumptre said.
“At the moment the focus is the Futurity and the All-Star Mile in Melbourne and then depending on which way Ardern goes with the borders, Probabeel will either go to Sydney for the Queen Of The Turf and then finish, or she will go to the UK.
“The three-race program in Melbourne fits very nicely and she is in great order. She is a once in a lifetime horse for Brendan and Jo and we want to look after her and make sure she comes through the next preparation absolutely sound before we look at stud options.”
Probabeel was purchased by Te Akau Racing’s David Ellis for $380,000 from the draft of Waikato Stud at the 2018 New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sales, before Plumptre and the Lindsays approached him to take 100 percent of the filly.
The five-year-old mare has won A$4.23 million in prizemoney to date.