David Probert will reunite with classic competitor Hoo Ya Mal for his British Swan Song at Cazoo St Leger in Doncaster next week.
Horse and rider first teamed up when the colt made his debut at Sandown last July, an inaugural seven furlong race in pouring rain that was interrupted at one point by a stray gardener on the track .
Despite the circumstances, the son of Territories finished third behind Group 1 winner El Bodegon. But Probert will have to wait until June of this year to receive the leg on the horse again.
The race in question was the Derby and this time Hoo Yal Mal was an underdog with a starting price of 150-1 at Epsom – chances he completely refuted by chasing Desert Crown to finish second.
Subsequently sold to Australia for £1.2million, the horse has been awarded a Melbourne Cup target by Gai Waterhouse, who will train him with Adrian Bott when he emigrates. In the meantime, he moved from Andrew Balding to George Boughey to see his British campaign.
Third in the Gordon Stakes, then easy winner of the March Stakes, both at Goodwood, Hoo Ya Mal will have one last outing from a home base and will be ridden again by Probert in a loop moment.
“It’s a real bonus to get back to him, I’m really looking forward to it,” said the jockey. “He has a live chance and he looks like the horse that improves in the race.
“At Sandown there was torrential rain, it was a weird race because there was someone standing in the middle of the track and there was an investigation afterwards.
“It was a strange event but he was nice that day, it was nice the way he finished his race because he galloped really well across the line.
“He’s a progressive three-year-old, it was brilliant to ride him in the Derby with him running so well.
“We weren’t sure how he would take all day after running quite briskly before, but he relaxed really well and I had a great trip.
“He rallied to the line really well, he’s a horse that we thought we could improve by going a bit further because it’s all about getting him off the hook.”
Probert was out of the saddle during the horse’s outings at Goodwood, but Hoo Ya Mal’s victory in the March Stakes proved his theory that a longer distance would be fine.
“He looked like he had improved going up on the trip as well, he relaxed really well at Goodwood over the mile and six (stadia),” he said.
“Race after race he improved every time. Gai Waterhouse has it now and it (the St Leger) has become a viable option after he did it so easily on the last day, it’s a real bonus to get back to him.
“George Boughey and the team seem to have done a good job with him, he looks like a real relaxed horse and it will be a special day if he can put his head forward.
“The plan for him is the Melbourne Cup, I think that’s why they bought him. It will be his last start in the UK and it will be a great way to deport him.”
. Cazoo Leger David Probert found Hoo Mal for loffre Doncaster Classic in song swan british news