Torrential rain in Sydney has put doubts over whether trainer Jamie Richards will start quality gallopers Probabeel and Avantage in their respective races at Randwick on Saturday. The Matamata horseman has flown over to Sydney where he will keep a close eye on track conditions (rated a Heavy 9 on Thursday) before making a final decision on whether they will start this weekend.
Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) winner Probabeel is entered for the Group 2 Tea Rose Stakes (1400m) and Richards said he was happy enough with her first-up fourth-placing in the Group 2 Furious Stakes (1200m) at Randwick. “I thought her first-up run was really nice over 1200m, which is short of her best,” he said. “I thought she kept up a good gallop and didn’t lose any ground. “She heads to the Tea Rose, it’s very testing ground, so we are just going to have a look at her today (Thursday) and tomorrow before we decide what we are going to do. “We don’t need to run, we can look at other options, but we just need to do the right thing by the horse and have a chat with Brendan and Jo (Lindsay, owners).”
Richards is also set to line-up quality mare Avantage in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) after her first-up runner-up performance at Ruakaka last month. “She just had no luck,” Richards said. “She jumped a little bit slower and then rushed forward and spent a bit of petrol and then got attacked, so I didn’t think her first-up run was the worst. “She goes into the race in good order, but again it’s a heavy track so we will just have to wait and see. “There are also options for her in the next couple of weeks too. She could run in the Golden Pendant (Group 2, 1400m) for fillies and mares next Saturday or we could have a look at another couple of options as well.”