Prowess (NZ) Prevails in Battle of the Proisirs

2 January 2023

Sunday’s $140,000 Group Two Jamieson Park Auckland Guineas (1600m) at Te Rapa became a battle of two progeny of Rich Hill Stud’s premiership-leading sire Proisir, and it was star filly Prowess (NZ) who pulled out more and more down the straight and took the win.

Prowess (NZ) wins G2 Jamieson Park Auckland Guineas (1600m)

Bought for $230,000 from the Book 1 draft of breeders Hallmark Stud at Karaka 2021, Prowess has now had five starts for three wins, two-thirds and $162,740 in prizemoney.

Prowess was a nine-length winner on debut as a two-year-old, and she scored again in her first three-year-old start in September. Her first steps into stakes class brought a pair of placings in the Group Three Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) and Group One New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m).

Freshened after her third in the 2000 Guineas in early November, Prowess made a keenly anticipated return to racing on New Year’s Day and was sent out as a warm favourite against a talented three-year-old field. She duly delivered, becoming the first filly to win the Auckland Guineas since Habibi (NZ) (Ekraar) in 2012.

Prowess sat in second place until the home turn, when jockey Warren Kennedy released the brakes and the rising star filly surged to the front with ease.

The only threat came from another Proisir three-year-old, the last-start stakes winner Waitak (NZ), who was rapidly gaining ground down the outside with less than 200 metres remaining. But Prowess responded to his challenge, quickening again and maintaining an advantage of three-quarters of a length.

“It’s absolutely fantastic to have the opportunity to ride a quality filly like this,” Kennedy said. “She’s really going places.”

Prowess is trained at Cambridge by Roger James and Robert Wellwood, who are now keen to run her in the $1m Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) at Pukekohe on January 21.

“As long as she comes through this well, we’d love to have a crack at the Karaka Million and another match-up with Legarto (NZ) (Proisir) – the party will be a pretty big one if we can beat her this time,” Wellwood said.

“This is a filly that’s just kept getting better, and I think she’ll continue to do so into her four and five-year-old seasons. She still has more maturing to come, but it was awesome to see her win so well today.

“One of the great things about her is that you can use her early in a race, and then she just relaxes and can go again. She’s a real push-button horse, and Warren gave her a lovely ride today.

“It looked like she might be labouring a little bit for a few strides in the straight, but then she went again and put them away pretty well in the end.”

The Guineas win was especially satisfying for James, who has had a long association with one of the filly’s part-owners.

“We bought this filly for Dean Skipper, who’s 80 now and I’ve known him for decades,” James said. “He wasn’t able to be here today, but he’s a very enthusiastic owner and I’m sure he’ll be at the races to watch this filly in the future.

“I had a horse for him many years ago. He later went off to make his fortune, but he said he would be back, and when that happened, we went to Karaka and bought this filly. We had to go a bit beyond his initial budget to get her, but I’m sure he won’t mind that now. She’s been worth it.”

Proisir, who has sired five individual stakes winners in New Zealand this season including three at Group One level, is set to feature prominently at Karaka 2023 later this month with 19 yearlings in Book 1 and 30 in Book 2.

Vendor Hallmark Stud
Purchaser Mr RA James/Mr R Wellwood (Waikato)
Breeding Proisir – Donna Marie
Sale Lot 353, Karaka 2021 Book 1, $230,000
Bred by Hallmark Stud Ltd