Pre-race indicators all point to another high-class performance from Prowess in her delayed introduction to the Melbourne spring carnival.
The multiple Group One winner suffered an early setback in her preparation, but the daughter of Proisir has bounced back and ready to shine in Saturday’s Gr.2 Crystal Mile (1600m) at The Valley.
Prowess struck an unsuitably wet going at Hawera when she finished runner-up in her seasonal debut in the Gr.3 Taranaki Breeders’ Stakes (1400m) and hasn’t missed a beat since.
“It was a heavy track and she has found good improvement since and we are very happy where she’s at,” said Robert Wellwood, who trains the four-year-old with Roger James.
Prowess will be opposed by only five rivals on Saturday, but it will still provide a stern test.
“It’s a small but quality field with two horses (Tuvalu and Antino) that ran second in Group Ones at their last starts and obviously Mustang Valley who was a Group One winner over a mile (Arrowfield Stud Plate, 1600m) the start before,” Wellwood said.
“It might be a small field, but it’s a very good one. She got into Melbourne late on Wednesday night and reports have been good.
“She has eaten and drunk well and had a quiet little trot and canter on Thursday morning and seems very happy and well.”
As long as expectations are met at The Valley, Prowess will head to Flemington for her next appearance.
“It’s exciting heading forward and she is back on track and with a good run and provided she comes through it well, her main target for the revised spring will be the Champion Stakes (Gr.1, 2000m) on November 11,” Wellwood said.
Prowess will be ridden at the weekend by the in-form Mark Zahra, who guided her to victory in last season’s Gr.1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill.
“He’s in terrific form and it’s great to have him back on,” Wellwood said.
The stable will also have major interest at the Pukekohe meeting where their promising filly Sudbina will contest the Gr.2 Jamieson Park Soliloquy Stakes (1400m).
It will pose a significant challenge for the daughter of Almanzor, who was a last-start maiden winner at Taupo.
“It will really suit her getting up to 1400m on a bigger track, but it is a very good field and a big step up for her,” Wellwood said.
“We are going to find out where she stacks up against pretty much the best three-year-old fillies in the country.”
Riccarton is an unlikely option for the lightly tried Sudbina, who doesn’t hold a nomination for the Gr.1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m).
“We would never say never though, and if she was to blow them away on Saturday then perhaps we might look at the Guineas,” Wellwood said.
“At this stage though, she’ll be staying up here and we’ll look at the fillies’ races over Christmas."