In the normal scheme of things, Saturday's gritty performance for second in the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill would have been class filly Probabeel's last of her current Australian campaign.

That was the plan for the Brendan and Jo Lindsay-owned 3-year-old as trainer Jamie Richards and her connections looked ahead to the promise of her 4-year-old spring campaign.

That was until the Covid-19 pandemic cast doubt on just what shape and form the racing industry would take next week, let alone next season.

Given the Savabeel filly has been handling her workload with aplomb, Richards is happy to press on to another significant target provided his charge comes through her latest performance in top shape.


"She was very brave on Saturday and went a terrific race on a track a little too wet for her liking," Richards said. "I thought Kerrin McEvoy rode her a treat and had her in the right places at the right time, but with that slower tempo early in the race, she just couldn't quite get to the winner, who'd had it pretty soft in front.

"She needs that firmer footing to really ping like she can, so to get as close as she did was a tremendous effort. She has been thriving during her time in Sydney and has had no trouble maintaining her weight and condition, so the racing isn't taking that much out of her.

"We had initially thought that Saturday would be her last run and we would bring her home and put her in the paddock as we look to the spring, but the way things are at the moment, we've had to have a rethink."

Richards will wait for a report from his father Paul, who is in Sydney with Probabeel along with stablemates Melody Belle and Te Akau Shark, before deciding on the filly's next step. However, a shot at the Group1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick on April 11 is the likely scenario.

"I'll speak with Dad about how she has come through the race before we make a decision on our next move," he said. "The early reports are she has pulled up well, and if she comes through this one like she has previously, then we will be heading to the Oaks.

"We have Melody Belle ready to go in the Doncaster [Group 1, 1600m] at Randwick this weekend and she has done really well since moving to Sydney from Melbourne.

"I'm looking forward to getting her on that Randwick track, as I think it suits her a little better, and as we are based there, she has gotten into a nice rhythm which won't be too different to what she will encounter on raceday."

- NZ Racing Desk