Horse racing: Why punters will be sweating over New Zealand glamour girls – New Zealand Herald

Posted: October 21, 2021 at 11:04 pm


21 Oct, 2021 04:00 PM4 minutes to read

LOVERACING.NZ's Liz Whelan takes a look at the last week of racing highlights. Video / LOVERACING.NZ

Punters could be in for an anxious watch if they back the two glamour girls of New Zealand racing in A$7million worth of races just 25 minutes apart tomorrow.

Because if Probabeel is going to win the A$5million Cox Plate in Melbourne or her stablemate Entriviere the A$2million Invitation in Sydney they are probably going to have to come from behind their elite Australian rivals to do so.

And one of their stablemates Imperatriz may have to attempt exactly the same as favourite just hours earlier in New Zealand's richest domestic race of a golden day of racing.

Probabeel is the best Kiwi chance in a star-studded Cox Plate that also includes the very in-form Callsign Mav but while the mare has the most successful Cox Plate barrier at 7 she is likely to settle midfield at best, meaning she is going to need to outfinish most of the superstars of Australasian weight-for-age racing.

"She is very well and as long as the rain holds off she will get her chance but we realise this is top level stuff," says trainer Jamie Richards.

"So she is going to need to be right at the top of her game and have some luck but she deserves her shot after her win last start."

That was when Probabeel shook up the Cox Plate market by beating long-time favourite Zaaki in the Might And Power Stakes at Caulfield.

Add that to the defeat of tomorrow's other favourite Verry Elleegant a week earlier and the Cox looks anything but the two-horse race is was being touted as a month ago.

But both Zaaki and Verry Elleegant should be better suited by showers forecast for Melbourne both Friday and Saturday and while Richards doesn't expect enough rain to force Probabeel out of the race, any easing of the track will aid the favourites.

With Zaaki set to roll forward and James McDonald back in the saddle he is still clearly the horse to beat and both the Kiwis will need to run up to their peak to get past him in what could be a vintage version of the great race.

If Entriviere runs up to her best then maybe she will be too good for what is not a daunting inaugural running of the Invitation at Randwick but she is still going to have to come from worse than midfield after starting from barrier nine.

Her supporters will be hoping for a genuine tempo over the 1400m and no traffic concerns so she can unleash the sprint which has made her one of New Zealand's most exciting gallopers. Remarkably is just 13 months ago today she made her winning debut at Matamata.

"Obviously we would have liked her to draw in a few spots closer," admits Richards.

"But she is spot on and with a few showers around Sydney she should be able to get her toe into the ground which she likes.

"So she will get her chance in what is a pretty exciting half an hour or so for the stable and the owners involved."Before then there is business to be taken care of at home where the $80,000 Soliloquy Stakes at Matamata, moved from Ellerslie because of Covid restrictions, is a crucial lead-up to next month's 1000 Guineas at Riccarton.

Imperatriz had looked freakish on occasions before racing below her best when third in the Gold Trial Stakes at Hastings last start and she will need to perform to a higher level to win tomorrow up against a very deep field of fillies.

"I think she is right back to where she was two starts ago but she has a wide draw which could mean we have to ride her patiently," says Richards. "If that happens she could go super and still not win because it is a tricky race."

The unbeaten Ziegfeld, Mustang Valley and Aris Aris have all done enough to suggest they could not only win tomorrow but the Guineas at Riccarton.

But local filly Bonny Lass will miss tomorrow's race and Riccarton after a slight setback this week.

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Horse racing: Why punters will be sweating over New Zealand glamour girls - New Zealand Herald

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