Probabeel named horse of the year

Probabeel, who was also named champion sprinter-miler, gained 29 votes for Horse of the Year,...
Probabeel, who was also named champion sprinter-miler, gained 29 votes for Horse of the Year, with 14 for Avantage and 10 for Melody Belle. Photo: NZ Herald
It was a night for the mares when Probabeel took the New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year honours for the 2020-21 season at a virtual event last night.

Probabeel gained just over half the 57 votes cast when heading off her Matamata stablemates Avantage and Melody Belle for the top award. It was a trifecta for mares and for trainer Jamie Richards and Te Akau Racing.

It is the fifth successive year that a mare has been named the NZ Horse of the Year, following doubles by Melody Belle and Bonneval.

New Zealand-bred mare Verry Elleegant was recently named the 2021 Australian Horse of the Year and a mare has won the Australian title 14 times this century.

Probabeel, who was also named champion sprinter-miler, gained 29 votes for Horse of the Year, with 14 for Avantage and 10 for Melody Belle.

Probabeel, a $380,000 yearling buy, is raced by Cambridge Stud proprietors Brendan and Jo Lindsay, who were also named owners of the year.

The other winners in the horse categories were Aegon (champion 3yr-old), Melody Belle (middle-distance), The Chosen One (stayer) and The Cossack (jumper).

Premiership winner Danielle Johnson was voted jockey of the year and Shaun Fannin was jumps jockey of the year.

Jamie Richards’ achievements as head of the Te Akau team were such that he was the sole nominee for Trainer of the Year, as was the case the previous season. He established records for a New Zealand trainer in terms of wins, stake earnings and black-type wins.

Richards prepared the winners of three of the five HOY categories for flat horses, with the other two coming from the Murray Baker-Andrew Forsman team.

A big night for Te Akau Racing was completed when Ashley Handley, who was responsible for the day-to-day care of Probabeel during her Australian campaigns, was named stablehand of the year.

Probabeel did all her racing in the 2020-21 season in Australia and measured up in top company in both her spring and autumn campaigns.

The Savabeel mare was Group I winner in Sydney and Melbourne and recorded four wins - all in the Group company - and two seconds from eight starts.

No other New Zealand-trained horse won a Group I race in Australia during the season.

NZ Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards

- Staff reporter 

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