It’s never easy following in “big brother’s” hoofbeats when he can boast five Group 1 victories. But at least Prodigy achieved something yesterday that his now retired sibling Boban didn’t do – win at Hawkesbury.
The four-year-old younger brother to $2.8m earner Boban (who was runner-up to Limes in the 2013 Hawkesbury Guineas before embarking on a multiple winning spree at racing’s elite level) showed plenty of ticker to prevail in a tense three-way finish to the Fastway Couriers Sydney Maiden Plate (1500m).
Ridden by Jay Ford, Prodigy ($11) upset fancied pair Rakhish ($1.75 favorite) and Birdsong ($2.60).
And there was no more delighted person on track than the gelding’s trainer Jason Attard.
Thanks to Attard’s wife Lucy’s connection with Boban’s owners when she rode him trackwork and was his attendant under leading trainer Chris Waller’s care at Rosehill Gardens, he was given Prodigy by the same owners to see if he could “win a race or two” with him. A $220,000 purchase at the 2015 Magic Millions yearling sale, Prodigy had five starts under the Waller banner without placing.
“The owners thought a change of environment might help, and asked me if I would give Prodigy a try,” Attard said. “They were thinking we might have to go to the country to win a race with him. Hopefully, we won’t have to do that now."
There’s no doubt Prodigy has responded to the change of environment and obviously likes the more relaxed rural atmosphere. Whilst he goes to Hawkesbury for his gallops, he has his own paddock during the day.
“He was a bit keen when we first started working him along, but Lucy has done a great job getting him to settle in his work,” Attard said. “Today’s race was an ideal distance at this stage of his preparation, and I feel he will get better as his distances increase. Jay (Ford) also feels he will manage further; perhaps even up to 2000m.”
Prodigy was placed in both trials (1000m at Hawkesbury on October 16 and 1175m at Warwick Farm on November 6) for Attard, and then made a promising debut for his new trainer when third to Mo The Great in a 1300m Maiden Plate on his home track on November 23.
Boban and Prodigy are by Bernardini from 1996 ATC Oaks winner Kenbelle. Boban won 11 of his 37 starts, and his Group 1 victories were achieved in the 2013 Epsom Handicap (1600m), Emirates Stakes (1600m), 2014 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) and Doomben Ten Thousand (1350m) and 2015 Memsie Stakes.
Prodigy’s breakthrough victory boosted his earnings so far to a meagre $21,675. A long way short of big brother’s $2,818,663 – but at least he’s on the way!