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Warren Kennedy was one of the jockeys who won on Prowess (

Michael Guerin (
By Michael Guerin
Prowess has run her last race.
The career of one of New Zealand’s most elite racehorses has come to a screeching halt.
Racing fans were stunned when trainers Roger James and Robert Wellwood announced their wonderful mare Prowess will not race again after being diagnosed with hoof disease laminitis.
Laminitis, which is an inflamation of the tissue around the hoof and the coffin bone that connects it to the leg, can prove fatal in horses if it becomes so advanced they can no longer walk or even stand.
The condition is what ultimately claimed champion racemare Sunline when she had to be humanely euthanised in 2009.
Co-trainer Robert Wellwood says the diagnosis was a huge shock to the stable yesterday but most importantly their veterinary advice is positive that Prowess’s life is not in danger and her condition can be handled to enable her to retire to a broodmare career without pain.
“It has really stunned us,” Wellwood told the Herald.
“She had had an easy week or two and Roger went to inspect her to see if she was ready to come back into work.
“She trotted up looking sound on Monday but she had heat in a hoof and when we got our vet to come look at her he x-rayed her and found there was an issue in her hooves.
“She is not in any pain so the first thing will be to work on her condition so she can have a long life and hopefully go to stud.”
If Prowess can be treated and her condition managed, Wellwood said he expects owner Dean Skipper will eventually sell her to a stud farm rather than breed for her himself.
A recouperated Prowess would fetch huge money in a red hot broodmare market, especially as a group 1 winner on both sides of the Tasman.
A daughter of Proisir, now one of the leading sires in Australasia, Prowess was a $230,000 Karaka yearling purchase out of the Hallmark Stud draft.
Prowess was a nine-length winner of her only juvenile start and finished third against the boys in the 2000 Guineas at Riccarton before going on a summer winning rampage this year.
She beat Waitak in the Auckland Guineas before winning New Zealand’s hottest race of the year, the $1 million Karaka Million three-year-old, beating Wild Night, Desert Lightning, Legarto and Sacred Satono.
She then won the group 2 Ellis Classic at Te Rapa by five lengths before beating the older horses in the group 1 Bonecrusher NZ Stakes, a weight-for-age 2050m at Pukekohe.
Prowess went to Sydney and smashed the Australian fillies in the group 1 Vinery Stakes at Rosehill.
She returned to Australia this spring and won the group 2 Crystal Mile at The Valley before finishing sixth in what will be her last race, the group 1 Champion Stakes at Flemington.
“It has been a tough day because Roger and I have always believed she would have been a better horse as a 5 and even 6-year-old,” says Wellwood.
“But the most important thing now if her being kept healthy and we are glad we found this early.”
A full sister to Prowess will be offered as Lot 21 on the first day of New Zealand Bloodstock’s National Yearling Sale at Karaka on January 28.
Prowess career
Breeding: 4m Proisir-Donna Marie.
Trainers: Roger James and Robert Wellwood.
Winning jockeys: Bridget Grylls, Vinnie Colgan, Warren Kennedy, Michael McNab, Mark Zahra.
Record: 12 starts, 8 wins, three placings, $1,575,824.