Caulfield trainer Mick Price is looking forward to lining up his exciting four-year-old Grunt (O'Reilly x Ruqqaya) in the Gr.1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday, his first major spring target.
The Group One winner who was purchased out of Trelawney Stud's 2016 New Zealand Bloodstock draft, has had two runs this preparation and while he was unplaced in both, Price was happy enough with his runs and said the roomier Flemington track and the step up in distance to a mile will suit the O’Reilly entire.
“I think he’s going great,” Price said. “I had to put two 1400m runs under his belt. He’s a four-year-old entire and I thought he needed a bit of racing.
“The P.B. Lawrence was too far away from the Maykybe Diva, he got beaten a length there. He got beaten two and three-quarter lengths the other day (Memsie Stakes).
“Back to the big Flemington mile, I think you will see him show up and I’m looking forward to it.”
What path Grunt will take after Saturday has yet to be decided, with Price wanting to see how the land lies after the Group One feature.
“He’s still a horse that we need to learn more about,” Price said. “He’s a lightly raced four-year-old entire and coming into races like the Turnbull, where do you go from there? Do you go Caulfield Cup or do you go Caulfield Stakes into the Cox Plate?
“I need a bit of information on the run through. We need to see what the opposition is doing and how his form is. Whether he is a Caulfield Cup-Melbourne Cup type of horse remains to be seen.
“We just need to see him show up in the Makybe Diva and draw a gate.
“I think from here, given the races get out in distance, you will start to see him improve.” – NZ Racing Desk