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New Zealand trainer Jamie Richards is more than happy his teams Australian efforts

The Te Akau team found the going at Randwick tough but New Zealand trainer Jamie Richards is more than happy with their Australian efforts.

Te Akau Shark, Melody Belle and Probabeel have had an extended stay in Australia during the autumn.

Probabeel (Surround Stakes) and Te Akau Shark (Chipping Norton) notched Group One wins while Melody Belle was third in the $5 million All Star Mile.

Three-year-old Probabeel found the heavy track on Saturday tough and only plodded into eighth in the Australian Oaks while Te Akau Shark and Melody Belle also struggled in the tacky conditions when fifth and sixth respectively in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

All three will now be spelled with a view to spring.

Richards has watched them from New Zealand where racing is shut down and stringent travel conditions are in place because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Probabeel got out of her ground a little in the Oaks but she couldn’t quicken in it as she came to the end of a long campaign,” Richards told NZ Racing Desk.

“We’re proud of her as she is now a Group One winner in Australia so she can have a good break before we get her ready for the spring.

“The other two went super races as well.

“They’ve all run well but it just wasn’t our day.”

All three runners will now make their way to ex-pat New Zealanders Greg and Jo Griffin’s Lime Country Thoroughbreds in rural NSW.

“We will be guided by what happens in the next couple of weeks with any easing of the travel restrictions but currently we are thinking that Melody Belle and Te Akau Shark will stay in Australia and be prepared for the spring from there,” Richards said.

“We will talk with Probabeel’s owners Brendan and Jo Lindsay about what she will be doing. She has been up for a fair while and needs a break so we want to see how she lets down.

“She’s a good-doing filly who doesn’t need to be out for that long but we will talk with Brendan and Jo about what we want to do in the spring and confirm that over the next few days.

“The travel restrictions will play a role in what she does but we just have to wait and see how things pan out and how it all fits together.”

Richards is also working on how Te Akau Racing will bring its local New Zealand team back once racing restarts.

“Most of the team were going out for a break anyway when the lockdown occurred as we don’t tend to have a big winter team,” he said.

“It has given us the chance to give our horses an extended spell at an ideal time of the year.”

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