Champion jockey Kerrin McEvoy broke his Randwick feature mile curse when Probabeel won at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
McEvoy, a rider of international renown, has won two Everests, three Melbourne Cups, Caulfield Cup and Golden Slipper and numerous other big races but he had never had any luck in the Epsom Handicap or Doncaster Mile at Royal Randwick – until now.
And the wait was worth it for McEvoy, who rode his 77th career Group 1 winner, driving Probabeel to a thrilling win in the $1 million TAB Epsom Handicap (1600m).
Probabeel takes out the 2020 TAB Epsom! A gun ride from @KPMcEvoy 💪 pic.twitter.com/QGBwEglNvL
“It’s great to finally win one of these big Randwick 1600m races,’’ McEvoy said. “We went into the race quietly confident about Probabeel even though she drew an outside gate.
“I spoke with Jamie (Richards, trainer) and the ownership group and they just said ride a positive race. She flew the lids and we were a bit closer than I initially thought we’d be.
“We had partial cover for most of the race and got forced a little wide when we bunched up at the 1000m. But I knew that if I could just have a conservative run through the first part she was going to be really strong for me with no weight on her back and that is exactly what she was able to do.
Probabeel gave Kerrin McEvoy his first win in the Epsom. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
“I thought straight away at the top of the lane I’ve got Bossy’s measure on Funstar and my mare showed her true grit there, she really picked up well for me in the straight.’’
Probabeel ($6.50) gunned down her arch rival Funstar ($10) to win the Epsom by a length with Riodini ($16) a short neck away third.
Star Of The Seas was sent out the $5 favourite but the rails barrier didn’t help his cause as he had little galloping room in the straight before finishing 11th.
Jamie Richards became the first New Zealand trainer to prepare an Epsom winner since Magnitude won for Margaret Bull in 1985.
Probabeel completed a memorable day for Richards, who was at Hastings in New Zealand’s North Island, to watch Melody Belle defeat stablemate Avantage in the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate.
“Probabeel is such a New Zealand product and this is so bloody exciting, awesome,’’ Richards said. “This is an unbelievable day – to win a Group 1 at Hastings and a Group 1 in Sydney.
“We won two Group 1 races on the same day in Sydney earlier this year with Te Akau Shark in the Chipping Norton Stakes and Probabeel in the Surround Stakes but this would have to be right up there with my best days as a trainer.
[email protected] caught up with @KPMcEvoy after his ride aboard Probabeel in the Tab Epsom pic.twitter.com/p3uS9NmOg5
“Kerrin was positive from the barrier and I feel the winning of the race was being in the first half of the field early. He knows the mare and rode her very well.
“I haven’t been able to touch this mare or see her in the flesh for four months so all credit to my team in Sydney, they have done a great job.’’
Richards said Probabeel will either go to the $5 million Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24 or the $7.5 million Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill Gardens on October 31,
“We have to think about the Cox Plate or the Golden Eagle for this mare,’’ he said.
“We will see how she pulls up in the next couple of days, give her some time to get over this run, and I will have a talk with Kerrin but they are the options we need to consider.’’
Kerrin McEvoy added the Epsom to his long list of Group 1 wins. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images
Probabeel has a 4-3 lead in head-to-head clashes with Funstar, with the two mares running the quinella at Group 1 level for the third time.
Glen Boss, rider of Funstar, thought he had a record-equalling fifth Epsom in his sights when Funstar ranged up to the leaders over the rise.
“I straightened up and felt like and kicked like the winner,’’ Boss said.
“But Probabeel put a length on me very quickly which surprised me. Funstar ran up to her best but Probabeel was just too good on the day.’’
Jockey Winona Costin had the smile of a winner after Riodini ran competitively for third.
“Riodini has run a really nice race,’’ Costin said. “He came back underneath me in the run then had to do the work to take her up to the leader but he gave a good kick and tried hard.’’
TAB BETTING REVIEW
Laure Me In was one of the better tried runners heading into the Cleanaway Handicap (1600 metres). The David Pfieffer-trained runner was $8 out to as much as $8.50 but strong each way support in the morning saw him start a $7.50 chance. James McDonald had to get everything out of the gelding to overhaul Matowi ($10-$9.50) which had headed it in the dying stages of the race. The favoured runners, headed by Discharged ($2.70-$3.40) could only manage third while the big mover in Betcha Flying ($9.50-$5.50-$4.20) did too much work and faded slightly in the straight to finish fifth.
BETS: Betcha $5,000 @ $4.20, $1,000 @ $4.20 MULTIPLE TIMES, Discharged $2,500 @ $3.40
One of the most anticipated races all day was the Keeneland Gimcrack Stakes (1000 metres). TAB punters were very quick to jump on Enthaar earlier in the week when $1.90 was available after markets first opened. She was crunched throughout the week and again today where she bottomed out at $1.55 before starting a very popular $1.60 favourite. Despite a wide trip, she gave a tremendous kick when asked by James McDonald to land countless big bets and multis. Enthaar was 10 times as popular as anything else in the race.
James McDonald made it three wins in a row to start the day at Randwick after leading throughout on Shaquero in the Arrowfield Breeders’ Plate (1000 metres). Pretty steady at the $5.50 for most of the afternoon, Shaquero led from the start to race away and score impressively. The big money horses were Kalashnikov ($2.40-$3.60), which drifted late, and Construct ($5-$4.20) with the pair holding over half the market between them. Of the others, there were moves for Astrologer $14-$9) and Athelric ($14-$10).
BETS: Shaquero $2,000 @ $5.50, Kalashnikov $1,000 @ $3.60 MULTIPLE TIMES, $5,000 @ $3.50, $1,000 x $2,000 e/w @ $3.20/$1.50, $2,000 @ $3, Athelric $2,000 @ $11, Astrologer $1,000 @ $10, Construct $7,000 @ $4
Kolding was the big firmer in the Quincy Seltzer Hill Stakes (2000 metres). Opening at $4.20 this morning, he was backed into $3.50 and was the best supported runner outside Fierce Impact ($2.25-$2.15-$2.35). Those two were clearly the most popular runners in front of Avilius ($4.80-$6). Fierce Impact was responsible for 43 per cent of the market.
BETS: Kolding $6,000 @ $3.50, $2,000 @ $3.50, $1,000 @ $3.50 MULTIPLE TIMES, Fierce Impact $5,000 @ $2.30, $3,800 @ $2.30, $3,000 @ $2.30, $2,000 @ $2.30, $1,700 @ $2.30, $1,000 @ $2.30 MULTIPLE TIMES
Most of the money sat with Hungry Heart in the Darley Flight Stakes (1600 metres). The daughter of Frankel was responsible for 55 per cent of the total investment and was nearly twice as popular as the second pick in the market, Dame Giselle ($2.70). Hungry Heart looked set to land huge bets and a number of multis until Montefilia ($8.50-$12) came right over the top to score. The David Payne runner held less than 10 per cent of what the favourite did.
BETS: Hungry Heart $12,000 @ $1.95, $40,650 @ $1.90, $10,000 @ $1.90, $5,000 @ $1.90, $2,750 @ $1.90, $2,400 @ $1.90, $2,000 @ $1.90 MULTIPLE TIMES, Dame Giselle $5,000 @ $2.70, $4,500 @ $2.70
In a huge upset, Libertini knocked out the two shorties and many Quaddie players with a brilliant win in the Bisley Workwear Premiere Stakes (1200 metres). Most of the money was riding on Nature Strip and Classique Legend held a whopping 85 per cent of the total investment and were two of the most popular horses all day. Unfortunately for their backers, it was Libertini ($12-$11-$13) which finished best off a good run for Regan Bayliss and trainer Anthony Cummings. In the end, Nature Strip drifted in the final 10 minutes of betting and went from $1.75 out to $2.15, clinging on to favouritism from Classique Legend ($3.20-$2.40) which attracted a number of big bets late.
BETS: Classique Legend $5,000 @ $2.70, $15,000 @ $2.60, $2,000 @ $2.60, $4,000 @ $2.40, Nature Strip $5,087 @ $2.10, $2,000 @ $2.10, $1,800 @ $2.10, $1,445 @ $2.10, $3,580 @ $2, $3,300 @ $2, $2,900 @ $2, $2,000 @ $2, $4,000 @ $1.85
In a great betting race, Probabeel attracted some very late support in the TAB Epsom (1600 metres) and ran right up to that support. Probabeel ($6-$7) was pretty solid throughout the afternoon and in terms of popularity, was third best tried behind Star Of The Seas ($5) and Rock ($7-$5.50-$6). Funstar ($10) was next best supported and then it was a gap back to Vanna Girl ($17-$11-$12). Of the others, Riodini ($19-$16) had good backing throughout the afternoon at a price while Imaging ($13-$15) had admirers also. Star Of The Seas and Rock held 38 per cent of the total investment on the race.
BETS: Probabeel $2,000 @ $6.50, $1,000 @ $6.50, Riodini $1,000 @ $19,$8,000 x $2,000 e/w @ $17/$5, $1,000 @ $16, Rock $5,000 @ $5.50, $2,000 @ $5.50, $1,000 @ $5.50
BETS: Star Of The Seas $5,000 @ $5, $4,000 @ $5, $1,500 @ $5, $1,000 @ $5 MULTIPLE TIMES, $3,000 @ $4.80, Imaging $1,000 e/w @ $15/$4.60, $1,000 e/w @ $15/$4.20
Mirage Dancer caused an upset in the Heineken Metropolitan (2400 metres) despite being one of the few firmers in the race. TAB had him at $17 earlier in the week and $12 was still available for most of the day, however, some very late support and a few big bets saw him jump a $10 chance. Finishing best under Nash Rawiller, Mirage Dancer landed the Group One for the Busuttin & Young barn. His win was at the detriment to the heavily tried favourite, Mugatoo ($3). The Kris Lees galloper was the most popular horse all day and went around with more than half the money on the race invested since Tuesday’s barrier draw. Hush Writer ($5.50), $11 on Tuesday, was best tried outside the fav along with Zebrowski ($5.50-$7).
BETS: Mirage Dancer $6,000 x $1,000 e/w @ $11/$3.30, Mugatoo $19,500 @ $3.20, $5,000 @ $3.20, $4,000 @ $3.20, $2,000 @ $3.20, $10,000 @ $3.10, $6,400 @ $3.10, $5,000 @ $3.10, $4,000 @ $3.10, $3,532 @ $3.10, $3,000 @ $3.10, $1,000 @ $3.10 MULTIPLE TIMES, $5,000 @ $3, $2,000 @ $3, Zebrowski $1,000 @ $6, $2,000 e/w @ $5.50/$2.10, Brimham Rocks $1,500 e/w @ $12/$3.60, Hush Writer $2,000 @ $5.50, $5,000 @ $5 TWICE
Favourite backers were delighted to see Athiri get the job done in the Cerrone Handicap (1200 metres). TAB customers backed the Godolphin filly in from $2.80-$2.50 but savvy punters were able to secure as much as $3.60 earlier in the week. Hilo, stablemate to the winner, had plenty riding on it too but went $3.10-$3.40-$3.30 after the support for Athiri. Between the two Royal Blue runners they were responsible for over 60 per cent of the total investment.
BETS: Athiri $10,000 @ $2.60, $2,500 @ $2.60, $2,000 @ $2.60 MULTIPLE TIMES, Burning Crown $4,000 x $1,000 e/w @ $8.50/$2.20, $3,500 @ $8.50, $2,000 @ $8.50, Handle The Truth $5,000 @ $10, Hilo $3,000 @ $3.40
Originally published asProbabeel ends McEvoy’s Randwick mile curse
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