New Zealand trainer Jamie Richards concedes it will be a difficult assignment beating Zaaki in the Might And Power at Caulfield but says nothing is impossible.
Richards will be represented by Probabeel in Saturday’s Group 1 race over 2000m having finished second to Zaaki at the mare’s previous run in the Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Sandown.
“Horse racing is a great leveller, no doubt about that, but all things being equal, he does look very hard to beat, but this fits into the path quite well,” Richards told RSN.
Richards is using Saturday’s race as a guide to see whether the mare will continue on a path to the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 23 or come back to mares’ company in the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington the following week.
“We’re trying to still get a line on where she is at, how she is going at that sort of trip and whether we can be competitive against a horse like Zaaki,” Richards said.
“We’ve got the Cox Plate as the aim at this stage, but we’ve got the Empire Rose in the back of our minds as well.
“I think she is on an upward spiral. She’s a good doing mare that has carried good condition throughout her prep and I think she’s starting to head towards full fitness now.”
The small field of six will make for a tactical race on Saturday, but Richards will be looking for jockey Brett Prebble to give Probabeel as easy a run as possible to see out a strong 2000m.
And Richards is unsure how to go about upsetting Zaaki.
“Tactically he’s so good,” Richards said.
“He can get himself out of the gates, get up on the speed and then he can quicken off a good tempo.
“We’re going to get a good run from a good gate and hopefully we can be a chance.”
Zaaki has had a stranglehold on betting for Saturday’s race and is the $1.26 favourite with TAB while Probabeel is the only runner under double figures as a $6 chance.