Star Kiwi mare Probabeel is set to back-up in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Sandown on Saturday after lugging around 57kg to run fifth in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield last Saturday.
The daughter of Savabeel carried 5kg more than her vanquishers and trainer Jamie Richards was pleased with her performance given her hefty impost.
“I thought she ran really well, I was pleased with the way she went,” Richards said.
“She was going to have to break a few records in terms of the weight that she was going to have to carry to win the race, and those records are there for a reason – it is very hard to do.
“She ran really well under the circumstances and the form gurus said that if it were at weight-for-age then she would have been winning it, but she was beaten by horses that were a lot further down in the handicap.”
Richards has been pleased with the way she has come through the run and said she will likely take her place in a small but select Underwood Stakes field on Saturday.
“We are just a little worried about the handicap route and having to carry that weight. We thought this is probably the best way to get back on the weight-for-age route,” he said.
“As long as she does everything well for the rest of the week there is a good chance that she is going to line-up in the Underwood.”
The Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley next month remains the ultimate goal for Probabeel and she will meet race favourite Zaaki for the first time this weekend.
“We are going to run into Zaaki, so we will get a good line as to where we are at,” Richards said.
“We will probably look at a Caulfield Stakes (Group 1, 2000m) after Saturday and that gives us a line as to where we are going, whether that is the Cox Plate or we come back in trip and go to the Empire Rose (Group 1, 1600m).”
Richards is also looking forward to lining up last start Group 2 Sheraco Stakes (1200m) winner Entriviere in the Group 2 Golden Pendant (1400m) at Rosehill on Saturday.
“She appears to have come through that last run in good shape,” Richards said.
“She did a bit of work on the Kensington track this morning and Dad (Paul Richards, Te Akau travelling foreman) was riding her, with the Sydney jockeys not allowed to ride trackwork at the moment, so we are lucky to have him over there.”
It will be just the second time Entriviere has raced over 1400m, finishing runner-up in her third lifetime start, but that bodes no concerns for Richards.
“I don’t think it will be a problem for her as long as they go a genuine tempo, which they will. I am looking forward to seeing her race,” he said.
Meanwhile, Richards reported Amarelinha has come through her eighth placed run in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) in good order.
“She seems to have come through it well,” he said. “We just had no luck in the running whatsoever and got shuffled back to last, which was pretty frustrating to watch.
“I thought she ran as good as she could under the circumstances.
“We will just play around with her for a couple more days before we decide on what we are going to do.”