Friday was meant to mark a big step forward in the spring preparation of multiple Group One winner Prowess, but it has instead handed her connections another frustrating setback.
An abscess had previously ruled the daughter of Proisir out of her original first-up target, the Gr.1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) in Melbourne.
She quickly bounced back from that, however, and Friday’s Taupo trial for Group and Listed performers was set to be her springboard into a potential resuming run in the Gr.3 Grangewilliam Stud Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) at Hawera on October 7.
But now all spring plans are up in the air again.
“She’d trotted up perfectly last night, but when she walked out of her box this morning she was slightly lame,” James said. “We’ve since had the farrier come and look at her, and we quickly found the issue.
“It’s nothing of any great concern, and I’d probably say there’s every chance that she’ll work tomorrow. But it’s just one of those frustrating things. It’s hugely annoying for us, because it’s prevented us from giving her what was going to be a crucial trial for her preparation.
“It’s fair to say it’s been an incredibly frustrating start to her spring. This little setback certainly isn’t anything significant at all, just nuisance value. But today’s trial was so important for getting her campaign back on track.
“Hopefully we can start to pick things up again with her within the next couple of days, but for now all I can say is watch this space.”
Prowess was one of the brightest stars in an exceptional crop of New Zealand three-year-olds last season, winning six of her eight starts including the Gr.1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) in Sydney, the Gr.1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2050m) against older horses at weight-for-age at Pukekohe, the Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m), the Gr.2 Auckland Guineas (1600m) and the Gr.2 David and Karyn Ellis Fillies’ Classic (2000m).
Her outstanding campaign earned her the title of the 2022-23 season’s Champion Middle Distance Horse (1601-2200m) at last Sunday’s New Zealand Thoroughbred Horse of the Year Awards in Auckland.