IN Racing
Bakers proud as punch of Prowess
Prowess continued the meteoric rise of her sire Proisir on Saturday when becoming his fifth individual Group One winner after her victory in the Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2050m) at Pukekohe.
NZ Racing Desk | March 13, 2023
Photo: Trish Dunell

Prowess continued the meteoric rise of her sire Proisir on Saturday when becoming his fifth individual Group One winner after her victory in the Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2050m) at Pukekohe.

It continued a brilliant season for the three-year-old filly, with previous wins in the Gr.2 Auckland Guineas (1600m), Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m), Gr.2 David and Karyn Ellis Fillies Classic (2000m), and placings in the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) and Gr.3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m).

Proudly watching her elite-level success were breeders Mark, Vicki and Denny Baker of Hallmark Stud.

“We are extremely proud and I am delighted for the Skippers, who own her. They put up a lot of money to buy her,” Mark Baker said.

“I am pleased for (trainers) Roger (James) and Robert (Wellwood) for placing faith in our brand and delivering at the highest level.

“She beat that top field in the Karaka Million 3YO and she has franked that form on Saturday against the older horses. What a masterstroke it was from Roger and Robert to bypass the Derby and go to the 2000m.

“She has given us a lot of thrills.”

Prowess made an instant impression on Baker as a foal at his Te Kauwhata property and she continued to attract admirers, eventually selling to James and Wellwood at New Zealand Bloodstock’s 2021 Book 1 Yearling Sale for $230,000.

“From the time she was born she was all quality,” Baker said.

“She was a beautiful foal and she went the right way and continued to grow and develop as you would hope.

“To be fair, she was probably a Book 2 page at the time. Proisir hadn’t quite hit his straps, but NZB could see what was there physically and put her in Book 1 where she deserved to be on her physical makeup, and she made money accordingly.

“She was the dearest Proisir at the time at $230,000.

“She had terrific size and scope as a yearling. She was all quality and a great mover and had a great attitude.”

The Bakers purchased Prowess’ dam Donna Marie for $20,000 as a broodmare prospect at Karaka in 2014 and she is proving to be a bargain buy for the farm.

“We bought her (Donna Marie) in the 2014 May broodmare sale,” Baker said.

“You can’t afford to buy the black-type mares off the track that you would love to. She is the daughter of a black-type winner.

“Don Eduardo (sire) attracted her to us too. He didn’t make it as a stallion but he had terrific blood himself, by Zabeel out of Diamond Lover.”

Donna Marie struck instant success with her first foal, Ajay Tee, with the Foxwedge filly going on to place in the Gr.3 Canterbury Belle Stakes (1200m).

Her subsequent progeny Diamond Ring and Prima Donna have both been winners on the track, with the former tasting success in Singapore on three occasions.

With a stallion share in-hand, the Bakers elected to send her to Rich Hill Stud stallion Proisir for her next mating, which resulted in Prowess.

“We have one share in Proisir. We thought physically it was a terrific match and that was one of the main reasons for going to him (with Donna Marie),” Baker said.

“He is the next level, he is a serious upgrader. No disrespect, but he has done it off average mares. Who knows where he will get to with some quality mares now.”

Donna Marie subsequently foaled a colt by El Roca, who was purchased by Carlaw Park as a weanling and was onsold through their 2022 New Zealand Bloodstock Book 1 Yearling Sale draft to Kiltannon Stables for $80,000.

Donna Marie has since returned to Proisir and the Bakers are over the moon with her filly foal.

“We still own her mother and have a lovely full-sister at foot, and she is back in-foal to Proisir,” Baker said.

“The filly is another quality individual. She looks a bit more precocious, is a quality filly and uses herself well.”

Baker is now looking forward to watching the rest of Prowess’ autumn campaign, with a trip across the Tasman now on the cards to compete in the Gr.1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) where James McDonald is confirmed to ride.

Ajay Tee Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes Denny Baker Diamond Lover Don Eduardo Donna Marie Gr.1 Vinery Stud Stakes Hallmark Stud James McDonald Mark Baker New Zealand Bloodstock Proisir Prowess Robert Wellwood Roger James Vicki Baker Zabeel