The Roger James and Robert Wellwood trained three-year-old Prowess made a winning start to her classic campaign when running out an impressive winner of the Cambridge Equine Hospital (1300m) on Wednesday.
The daughter of Proisir won on debut in her only two-year-old outing back in April and on the strength of a strong polytrack trial win was sent out a $1.30 favourite and duly delivered for punters.
The quality filly was ridden by Vinnie Colgan, who replaced Ryan Elliot, and after settling midfield behind a strong tempo showed her class when produced in the straight to score by three-quarters of a length from older stablemate Deep Beauty.
“Vinnie was pretty impressed. He helped her out of the gates and then he said from there he grabbed hold. She was very tractable and was push button, but he was a bit worried our old boy Deep Beauty had him in a pocket for a moment. But once he got clear air and shook the reins at her he said she found the bridle and gave him a pretty nice feel,” Wellwood said.
Nominated for both the Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai 50th New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) and the Gr.1 Barneswood Farm 50th New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m), Prowess is $4.50 second favourite for the latter.
“We will see how she pulls up and determine where we head next. There are plenty of options but the end goal is certainly one of the Guineas races at Riccarton,” Wellwood said.
“She is nominated for both Guineas and obviously most of the time you stick to your sex but we will keep it up in the air and assess the whole picture and the 2000 Guineas is worth a bit more money.
The Cambridge horseman said having access to the polytrack was important to get the filly’s campaign underway.
“Previously we would have had no choice but to start her on an extremely heavy track and perhaps flattened her. She is certainly one of our best three-year-olds and it is just nice for her to be able to come here,” he said.
“Even driving to the races with the rain tumbling down, we were ensured we were able to get good footing and she will come through the run unscathed with hopefully not a lot taken out of her. It would have been the opposite on a heavy track, which unfortunately this spring has given us.”
James and Wellwood went to $230,000 to purchase the filly out of Hallmark Stud’s 2021 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft and Wellwood is confident the loose-moving filly will be seen to good effect over ground.
“Attitude is going to take her a long way, she is very tractable and we have seen other Proisirs that have stretched out over ground as well,” he said.
“She is a big scopey filly that is only half the horse of what she is going to be as a four and five-year-old.” -NZ Racing Desk