Star New Zealand mare Probabeel snatched her second consecutive win in the Group 3 Bellmaine Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The champion five-year-old was sent out as a $1.75 favourite with Sportsbet in the final race of the day, and although she got the job done for punters, it was far from an easy watch.
Trained by Jamie Richards, the daughter of Savabeel was having her first run for the autumn, before she looks to make it back-to-back Futurity Stakes (1400m) in a fortnight.
In just a seven-horse field, jockey Brett Prebble settled the $4 million earner in the second half of the field, before producing her to the extreme outside at the top of the straight.
Mariamia gave a strong kick at the furlong to give her chasers a mammoth task, but such is Probabeel’s fighting qualities, she knuckled down and got her head in front right where it counts – the winning post.
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“She just hit a flat patch and was spinning her wheels a bit,” Prebble said.
“We were up in a more forward position to what she’d normally be; (I) felt the pace wasn’t that quick but they dropped the hammer before the turn and really made a bit of a sprint home and that’s where she hit that flat patch.
“But then her stamina and her class kicked in late. It was a good feeling.
“It’s always hard carrying big weight and she’s a little bit older, too.
“Her determination and her ability, she’s always a pleasure to ride and I’m lucky to have the opportunity.”
Tom Dabernig’s Flying Mascot returned to the races in good fashion, hitting the line hard to run second in what was a last-ditch effort to gain votes for the All-Star Mile.
Probabeel is likely to head to the All-Star Mile as well, with the stable hoping there isn’t any rain in Melbourne leading up to “grand final day”.
“I just spoke to Jamie on the phone and he rang laughing. I said, ‘you probably don’t want to watch that one again, but at least she’s got the job done so we’ll push on,” Richards’ stable representative Brad Taylor said.
“She’s just a mare that turns up every campaign and credit to Jamie.
“She’ll head to the Futurity now and then into the All-Star Mile and, as Jamie said, hopefully it doesn’t rain on grand final day.”
Probabeel is the $4.50 favourite with online bookmakers to defend her title in the Futurity Stakes, while Saturday’s C.F. Orr Stakes winner, Tofane, sits on the second line of betting at $5, while I’m Thunderstruck and Zaaki share the third line of betting on $6 apiece.
On the back of her barnstorming victory, Probabeel has been wound in from $9 to $6 for the All-Star Mile, which will return to Flemington on March 19.