WELL-PLACED Ballarat sprinting mare Wealth Princess looks to be in with a huge chance to win the $125,000 Wangoom Handicap (1200m) despite not being near a race track for two years.
The six-year-old mare has only had 11 starts but saluted six times and racked up more than $307,000 in prizemoney, including six starts for two wins and three placings in group and listed company.
Now trained by Darren Weir, the sprinter previously finished second in the group 1 Winter Stakes at Eagle Farm, beaten less than a length by Melito on June 26 2010, after finishing third behind Set For Fame in the group 3 Dane Ripper and won the group 3 Glenlogan over 1350m at Doomben on May 22. Her first-up record is also stunning with two wins to kick off her two previous campaigns.
Weir's Warrnambool stable foreman Mitch Freedman said he expected Wealth Princess would take time to find her best form after two tendon injuries and almost two years away from the race track.
"She came in pretty good order, not too big and not too light, just around the mark," he said.
"She hasn't done a lot of galloping work. She's done plenty of work on the treadmill and on the sand dunes but two years is a long time off. You have to start somewhere but if the track is worse than a slow six she won't be starting."
Freedman said Wealth Princess was originally trained in New Zealand before going to Lee Freedman's to be set for spring mares' and sprint races prior to suffering her injuries.
"And that's how she found her way to us," he said.
"She's injured the same tendon twice, but she had got a good record. Mares can get a bit big when they're off the scene for that long and she's had a fair bit of work.
"It would be nice if she was competitive and hitting the line pretty well. You would expect it would take a couple of runs for her to get right to the top of her mark."
Freedman, 23, has 15 horses in work at Matthew Williams' Wangoom stables for Weir. The young stable foreman is heading to England with partner Jenna Primmer from May 25 and will travel for five weeks, including a visit to Royal Ascot.
Primmer will then return home while Freedman starts working for trainer Andrew Balding.
"It's something I've always wanted to do and I'm getting to the stage where I want to start training by myself," he said.
"Before I get locked down training horses I want to go overseas and have a look."
Other leading contenders in the Wangoom Handicap include last year's runner-up Stanzout and third placegetter Philda.