Trainer Mick Price has elected to run O’Reilly entire Grunt in Saturday’s Gr.1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield after he grew concerned with the four week gap between runs.
The Gr.1 Australian Guineas (1600m) winner pleased his trainer with his fresh-up fifth-placing in the Gr.2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m), but Price said he needs the run heading into the Gr.1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) next month.
“He’s done too well and it was going to be four weeks between runs into the Makybe Diva, which is probably the case for a lot of these horses I guess,” Price said.
“He’s a four-year-old entire, he had a bit of a blow, and the four weeks between runs wasn’t going to be enough work for him.
“The Makybe Diva is a Group One, so he’ll be there to win it if he can and the Memsie is part of that plan.”
Price is pleased with Grunt’s inside barrier draw and believes PB Lawrence Stakes winner Showtime will once again set the early pace.
“There was good pace on (in the PB Lawrence) and there should be good pace on again,” he said. “I see Showtime has drawn two, we have drawn barrier one, so we’ll get a trail up.”
Jockey Luke Currie will be aboard on Saturday and he gave a glowing report after riding Grunt in track work earlier this week, however, Price said he’ll be suited over more ground.
“Currie came and rode him on Tuesday, the horse is going great,” Price said.
“He’s going to be that 2000m-type horse. He might be a Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup type of horse, he might run in the Cox Plate. I’ve just got to get a feel for him on the run through, but the horse is going great and will give plenty of cheek if he gets a run at the right time, albeit 1400m.
“It might be a bit sharp for him, but he’ll be chasing up behind them.
“He has taken a lot of improvement from that first-up run and each run he has he’ll get better and I’ll be looking forward to the Makybe Diva.”
Meanwhile, Price rates juvenile Group One winner Seabrook as his best winning chance on Saturday when she contests the Gr.3 HDF McNeil Stakes (1200m) first-up at Caulfield.
The New Zealand-bred filly won the Gr.1 Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick in her last-start and Price believes the three-year-old has a strong Classic season ahead of her.
“She’s flying,” Price said. “She had a soft trial at Cranbourne and then she had another trial where she went really well. She’s looking for a race now, she’s going great and she’s our best chance for the day.”
The three-year-old filly’s main target for the spring will either be the Gr.1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) or Gr.1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m), and Price has two programmes in-mind depending on how Seabrook runs on Saturday.
“We have two choices with her,” he said. “If she wins on Saturday I’d be tempted to go to the Golden Rose. She knows Rosehill, she knows Sydney, it’s a $1 million race and 1400m would suit.
“It would then be three weeks into the Thousand Guineas or Caulfield Guineas.
“Or she stays here (in Melbourne) and we would go to either the Danehill or the Exford in two weeks and then the Guineas Prelude and the Thousand Guineas or Caulfield Guineas.
“So they are two different programmes and we will make a decision after Saturday. But I think she will be a beautiful Thousand Guineas filly, a mile is great for her.
“But on Saturday, fresh-up over 1200m, she’ll be motoring home and can win.” – NZ Racing Desk