You could forgive Te Akau Racing’s Jamie Richards for allowing himself a moment of celebration following the running of the Karaka Million 2YO (1200m) on Saturday evening.
In his first season in sole-charge of the Te Akau Racing team, Richards had just provided the trifecta in New Zealand’s richest two-year-old race with Probabeel, Aotea Lad and dead-heater Yourdeel.
While feeling a sense of satisfaction, Richards admitted his overwhelming emotion was that of relief.
“I was pretty relieved after the race, to be honest,” Richards said.
“Once you get to raceday there’s not much more you can do, you just have to have faith in your horse and the jockey on top of it.
“We were really happy with our horses until we got to the barrier draw where our three best chances drew outside.
“Thankfully there was good speed in the race and I think the filly that won is quite a classy horse. She can do things that other horses don’t.”
While reluctant to split Te Akau’s five runners in the final field, Richards was clear that Probabeel looked to be the stable’s best chance of success based on her lead-up form.
“If she hadn’t have drawn the outside, she was clearly our best chance,” he said.
“She’s a filly that has a lot of X-factor about her, she’s not a natural two-year as she’s a big, scopey filly so whatever she is doing at the moment is a bonus for the future.”
Richards also revealed that the application of blinkers for the race had also bolstered his hopes for her chances.
“We’d given her quite a bit of work at home in the blinkers as the first couple of times she raced she lacked a bit of ringcraft.
“After she had a freshen up, we gave her a jump-out with the blinkers on and she really went well.
“We didn’t put a full-cup blinker on because she raced keen enough last start, so we met her half-way and she seemed to appreciate that.”
Richardson advised that Probabeel would most likely head to the paddock for a few days before a discussion with owners Brendan & Jo Lindsay would take place to outline possible options for her in the autumn.
With the commencement of the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sale at Karaka on Sunday, Richards’ attention now turns to working with Te Akau boss, David Ellis, to select the next crop of youngsters for the stable.
“It’s a pretty busy time out here (Karaka) as we try and buy the next good horse,” he said.
“We work pretty hard through the summer and enjoy a bit of a break in the winter, so we will soldier on for now and celebrate our success when we do get the chance.”