By Ray Hickson
The pedigree said yes but trainer Edward Cummings had to look a little deeper when the colt that became Prompt Prodigy first arrived at his Hawkesbury stable.
He was a son of Allez Wonder, a mare the 34-year-old knew only too well as she was prepared by his legendary grandfather Bart Cummings to a Group 1 win, but he was shin sore and lacked a bit in the size department.
Prompt Prodigy has come a long way since then and somewhat appropriately will be Cummings’ first Group 1 runner in his own name in Saturday’s $2m Bentley Australian Derby (2400m) at Royal Randwick.
“When he turned up and he was small as he was I thought there’s got to be something in there that’s fast,’’ Cummings said.
“The pedigree drew my appeal immediately, I noticed he was going through a breeze up sale and I thought on pedigree it wasn’t something you’d see that often.
“His breeze up was sharp and he came to us and he was shin shore. The guys that breezed him up said he was shin sore and had feet issues at the same time which all indicated he was able to run time when he wasn’t 100 per cent.”
He paid $120,000 for the colt and received almost an immediate boost when the horse’s year older full sister Kooweerup, a $650,000 purchase, won a Group 3 race in Adelaide in the spring of 2019.
Cummings is in his second season training out of Hawkesbury, he had Group 1 runners in an almost three year partnership with his father Anthony, and is stoked that Prompt Prodigy has reached the top level so early in his career.
Bart Cummings won the last of his five Australian Derbies in 2009 with Roman Emperor, the same year Allez Wonder won her Group 1.
“I’ve learned from some very good trainers not just about what’s required when you’re training them but what’s required when you’re trying to scout for talent,’’ he said.
“I’d like to think we’ve been able to put that into practice and that’s why we are here as soon as we are.”
It took Prompt Prodigy until his seventh start to post his maiden win but he served notice as early as his debut, when placed at Warwick Farm, that he was a work in progress.
The trainer says he deliberately took his time with the colt, allowing him to develop and learn how to use the assets he possesses and it’s now paying off.
“We went through the motions and he kept getting better and better every single time he worked and came in and out of the system,’’ he said.
“There are a number of people who were saying he’d get out in trip, that a mile and plus would suit him, but it probably wasn’t until he ran well for Josh Parr at Warwick Farm (in December) we decided to make the Tulloch or maybe the Rosehill Guineas a target.
“We let him learn what to do keeping him in the B and C grade company, and he’s always run well.
“All that was going to change eventually with the benefit of experience and the penny dropping.
“You start to figure out the best way to ride a horse, be it more positive or sitting back, what makes more sense for him given his advantages and disadvantages.
Prompt Prodigy runs second at Rosehill on April 3
“He’s a lot stronger, a lot faster and he has that stout staying quality in much greater volumes than his physique would suggest.”
Prompt Prodigy has one win from his 10 starts and entered calculations for the Derby with his fighting second behind Yaletown in last week’s Group 2 Tulloch Stakes (2000m), his first run in a month.
Cummings said the three-year-old, $34 with TAB, pulled up in good shape from that race and has shown this week that he’s ready for the back-up and his biggest test yet.
“The work is done, he’s sharp and happy and healthy. I’m looking forward to Saturday,’’ he said.
“I think he will run well and it looked to me off his work on Tuesday that he has improved from last Saturday and that can only be a good thing.”