Kerrin McEvoy was happy to finally get the monkey off his back with an overdue victory aboard New Zealander Probabeel in the Group Three Bill Ritchie Handicap at Randwick.
McEvoy had ridden the mare five times for five seconds and that record was on his mind heading into Saturday.
“I was intent to win on her today. I’ve had five seconds on her so it’s nice to get it done before the big one being the Epsom,” McEvoy said.
“Out in trip she mapped as though she’d get a nice run and I just made sure she jumped.”
Ridden positively by McEvoy, Probabeel ($2.45 fav) was positioned in the slipstream of the leaders and produced her customary turn of foot to comfortably claim the 1400m race.
Cuba ($12) fought on well after leading to finish 1-1/4 lengths away second with Brandenburg ($6) a sound third another length away.
The Bill Ritchie is a proven Epsom lead-up with Kolding the most recent horse to claim the double 12 months ago.
Dame Giselle has continued her winning march through Sydney’s Princess series, adding Saturday’s Tea Rose Stakes to her victories in the Silver Shadow and Furious Stakes.
Stalking the speed, Dame Giselle pounced halfway up the straight and had enough in the tank to hold off favourite Hungry Heart by a half-length with Vangelic another 1-1/4 lengths away
Winning jockey Tommy Berry believes Dame Giselle can handle a distance rise to 1600m in the Flight Stakes in two weeks, provided he gives her the right ride.
“Everyone is going to say that Dame Giselle was getting tired late but she doesn’t, she switches off once she gets to the front,” Berry said.
“Over the mile it will be important to draw a good barrier and get that first furlong right.”
Dame Giselle will be striving to become just the third filly in 25 years to clean-sweep the Princess series after Angst (1993) and Samantha Miss (2008).