Ryan Elliot’s prospects of a Classic double at Riccarton have been boosted with confirmation he will partner Prowess in this Saturday’s Gr.1 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m).
Elliot is also the regular rider of the unbeaten Legarto, who is currently a $1.80 favourite to win the Gr.1 Barneswood Farm New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) on the final day of the New Zealand Cup carnival.
The daughters of Proisir clashed in the Gr.3 Soliloquy Stakes (1400m) at Te Rapa last time out with Prowess finishing third, the first defeat of her career, after suffering an interrupted passage.
“She will probably run this Saturday and Ryan will ride her,” said Roger James, who prepares the three-year-old with Robert Wellwood. “She didn’t have much of a chance last time out.”
Vinnie Colgan has partnered the filly in both of her recent outings and had a prior engagement to ride Desert Lightning for Peter and Dawn Williams this weekend, but will be reunited with Prowess if she backs up in the 1000 Guineas.
“She’s a very good filly and she got a bit unbalanced the other day and lost her way and then came good again in the last 150m,” Colgan said.
“I was already committed to Desert Lightning, he’s been holding his own and got an upset chance.”
Colgan has been aboard Desert Lightning in all three of his runs this preparation and combined for a last-start fourth in the Gr.2 James & Annie Sarten Memorial Stakes (1400m) at Te Rapa.
The Pride Of Dubai gelding is an $8 chance in the 2000 Guineas market while Prowess is at a $5.50 quote and a $6 chance for the 1000 Guineas.
In the meantime, Colgan has a strong book of rides at Pukekohe Park on Melbourne Cup Day, including Prowess’ stablemate Cheaperthandivorce in the Gr.3 Balmerino Stakes (2050m).
The multiple Group Three-winning Savabeel four-year-old was unplaced when opening her campaign over 1600m at Te Rapa at the end of last month and is expected to be far more competitive on Tuesday.
“The track was a bit off and she didn’t pull up that well and she’s a lot better than that,” Colgan said.
“She will be back up over ground with a nice draw and on a big track she’ll be a different horse.
“She’s a quality mare and we’re expecting a bold run. She has been doing well and while she didn’t pull up that flash after Te Rapa, she’s 100 per cent now.”
Colgan, who has previously won twice aboard Cheaperthandivorce, will ride the Mark Walker-trained Self Obsession for the first time in the Listed Karaka Classic (1500m).
The daughter of Shocking was a three-time Group Two winner last season and finished runner-up in the Gr.1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) to tie with Belle En Rouge in the New Zealand Bloodstock Filly of the Year series.
Following a break, she was given two trial outings before overcoming a tardy start at Te Rapa when resuming to finish an eye-catching sixth over 1400m.
“Stayers can have that good sprint first-up and it’s still only 1500m so that’s a query,” Colgan said.
“You will see her best runs when she’s back up over more ground you would think, but I hope her class can carry her through.
“They are good, open fields and I’ve got some nice rides, but there are five or six horses in each race with just as much of a chance.”