Star New Zealand filly Probabeel has confirmed a return to Australia and capped a stellar day for Te Akau Racing by beating Australian contender Conqueror in the Karaka 3YO Classic.
Just over an hour after Te Akau celebrated their fourth consecutive victory in the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) with Cool Aza Beel, at Ellerslie on Saturday Probabeel became the first Karaka Million 2YO winner to return 12 months later and win the 3YO Classic (1600m).
Probabeel finished second in the Flight Stakes in the Sydney spring and will now return for a likely rematch with Funstar in the Surround Stakes.
Sent out as the $1.60 favourite to complete her historic Karaka Million double, Probabeel was aided by a perfectly timed ride from Opie Bosson.
He angled Probabeel into the clear in the straight from well back and she responded to hold Conqueror at bay by 1-1/2 lengths.
“There was a bit of pressure coming into today, and I was pretty keen just to get through it,” trainer Jamie Richards said.
“But full credit to everyone, it was a big team effort and a great result.
“She probably got a little bit further back than we might have wanted, but we didn’t want Opie to rush her.
“Now we’re really looking forward to getting her back over to Australia, more than likely for the Surround Stakes at Randwick on February 29.”
The win capped a great day for the filly’s owners, Cambridge Stud proprietors Brendan and Jo Lindsay.
They won the Karaka Cup (2200m) with Dance Card, while Bavella was placed in the Group Three Mr Tiz Trophy won by Catalyst and Taroni was placed in the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m).
“What a day, what a horse,” Brendan Lindsay said. “I thought she was going to win easily when she raced to the lead in the straight, but it just got a bit nerve-wracking in the last bit.
“She’s the first horse to ever do this, and I think it’ll be a long time before anyone else does it again.”