Blinkers to boost Prioress for Autumn Sprint Final defence

Prioress will head to Trentham to defend her title in Saturday’s $50,000 Autumn Sprint Final (1200m). Photo: Peter Rubery (Race Images Palmerston North)

Lisa Latta hopes a gear change might help turn around a disappointing campaign for Prioress as she heads to Trentham to defend her title in Saturday’s $50,000 Autumn Sprint Final (1200m).

The daughter of Proisir scored an impressive victory over Highlighter in last year’s renewal of the lucrative Rating 75 sprint.

It capped a consistent run of form that had seen her place in all of her five previous starts dating back to February.

It has been a different story for Prioress in her five-year-old season.

She was a second placegetter at this course over 1200m in November and again over 1100m in December, but has been unplaced in six starts since returning from a summer freshen-up – most of them on good or soft tracks, rather than her preferred heavy.

Prioress showed more promising signs with a third placing with blinkers on in a Foxton trial on May 14.

“Her form definitely hasn’t been as good this time around,” Latta said.

“Part of that is probably because she just hasn’t quite had the right track conditions.

“We’ve also tried putting some blinkers on, and I thought she performed quite a lot better when she trialled in blinkers at Foxton a fortnight ago. So we’re hoping that might help to improve her form a little bit.”

Chris Dell will take the ride on Prioress on Saturday, with Lily Sutherland riding stablemate Amosia in her first appearance since September.

“She’s coming up well,” Latta said.

“She usually takes a run or two to build into her campaigns though, and she’s probably better on a looser track.”

Latta collected two wins at Trentham last Saturday with Belle’s Echo and Lincoln Star, and both will back up and return to the same venue a week later.

Belle’s Echo will contest the Majestic Horse Floats (1400m), while Lincoln Star lines up in the John Cryan (2200m).

“They’ve both come through their wins last Saturday really well,” Latta said.

“They should run well again. We initially weren’t sure about backing up with Belle’s Echo, but I’ve been really happy with her through this week. She has a very good record around Wellington.”

Belle’s Echo has had six starts at Trentham for three wins and a placing.

Another Latta-trained runner in strong form is Jestin Case, who steps up in class for Saturday’s Autotech Doors (1600m).

Unplaced in all of her first four starts between July and September last year, the four-year-old has taken a big step forward this time in with two wins and a second from her four races since March.

“I’ve been really happy with everything she’s done this time in,” Latta said.

“It’s another step up on Saturday, going up to Rating 75 grade, but she’s in great form at the moment.”

There are also three first-starters among Latta’s big Trentham team on Saturday, including the two-year-old Mr Miyagi.

“He’s not very big, so we’ll probably give him one race and then put him aside to let him grow a bit more,” Latta said.

“But he’s a nice horse and he tries hard.”

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