Back to the scene of Grunt’s (O'Reilly x Ruqqaya) greatest
triumph, Mick Price is anticipating improvement but concedes some of his
big-name rivals may have “more ping” at the end of Saturday’s Gr.1 Makybe
Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington.
Grunt produced his career-best performance
in a fabulous Australian Guineas win at this track and distance in the autumn
and Price expects the talented galloper “will start to show up” in the Makybe
Grunt is a $14 chance in the Makybe Diva
and Price feels he will have his chance from barrier six, expected to be put
into a prominent position by jockey Damien Oliver.
However Price thinks Grunt is a promising
stayer in the making and says it is possible key rivals such as Humidor
($4.20), Kings Will Dream ($4.60) and Kementari ($4.60) will have more zip near
the finish at Flemington on Saturday.
“This race is certainly not the end
destination for Grunt, he is a young staying type of horse who I would love to
get into a Caulfield Cup,” Price said.
“But I have been happy enough to get two
1400m runs into him at Caulfield and from a good barrier around Flemington I
think he will start to show up on Saturday.
“Hopefully he will be in the fat end of the
prizemoney, I’d love to see him win.
“But there are a few horses like Kings Will
Dream, Humidor and Kementari that if they are close to Grunt at the 200m they
may just zip and ping past him.
“If those sort of horses come charging at
Grunt at the end, they will probably finish in front of him.
“Some people have been knocking Kementari a
little bit, but I thought his run in the Memsie was a good run.”
The Makybe Diva Stakes represents something
of a fork in the road for Grunt, with Price yet to determine where he goes next with the Trelawney Stud graduate, although the Caulfield Cup is certainly in his thinking.
Grunt is rated a $26 chance to win the
Caulfield Cup, while Ladbrokes is offering a $34 on him to spring a huge upset
and beat mighty mare Winx in the Cox Plate. -Racenet.com.au