Local galloper Zahspeed remains the solid...
Favourite Grunt failed to make any noise when he missed a place behind Homesman in the Group 1 $750,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Sunday.
Damien Oliver was forced to take Grunt to the front in the first 200m after he failed find any cover after jumping from the outside gate in the nine horse field.
Grunt dictated the tempo out in from but was under pressure on the home turn and the $3.40 favourite faded in the run home to finish sixth, four and a half length behind the Liam Howley trained, Lloyd Williams owned European import Homesman ($5).
Oliver told trainer Mick Price that Grunt wasn’t comfortable running on the Caulfield track and changed strides on several occasions resulting in four year old suffering his third defeat from three starts on the track.
“He was hopeless. Ollie (Damien Oliver) just got off and said he changed stride four or five times around the corner. He said he’s not comfortable here. He doesn’t like it here so you can’t keep banging your head against the wall,” Price told racing.com.
“The three worst runs of his career have been at Caulfield. I gave him the benefit of the doubt until we got to the 1800 metres but that was not to be.
“We’re going to use that information properly and go to the Turnbull.”
Price now intends to back up Grunt against super star mare Winx on Saturday and have his last lead up run for the 2018 Cox Plate in the Group 1 $500,000 Seppelt Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
Grunt has definitely shown in the past that he runs his best races at Flemington with three wins from four starts there, including two at Group 1 level in the $1m Australian Guineas (1600m) during the 2018 Melbourne Autumn Carnival and in the $750,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) two starts back.
Price will have to call on the services of Mark Zahra to take the reins on Grunt when he tackles Winx in Turnbull Stakes after Oliver had a previous commitment to ride the Chris Waller trained Dealmaker in the Group 1 $500,000 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Fourteen horses make up the original nominations for the Turnbull Stakes with three of Winx’s Waller trained stablemates among the entries, Egg Tart, Unforgotten and Youngstar.
Winx will be chasing her twenty-eighth consecutive win and her twenty-first Group 1 win in the Turnbull Stakes which will be her last lead up run to try to make it four Cox Plate victories in a row.
Nominations for the 2018 Turnbull Stakes (2000m)
|#||Last 10||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp Rating|
|1||4x1331x140||DIVINE UNICORN (GB)||G||5||Matthew Dunn||99|
|2||400521×533||EGG TART||M||5||Chris Waller||107|
|3||x1111x5816||GRUNT (NZ)||H||4||Mick Price||113|
|4||1x68139x43||JON SNOW (NZ)||H||5||Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman||110|
|5||x11111x432||KINGS WILL DREAM (IRE)||G||5||Darren Weir||107|
|6||41x780x006||MIGHTY BOSS||H||4||Mick Price||104|
|7||2x115627x2||ORDEROFTHEGARTER (IRE)||H||5||Liam Howley||99|
|8||2x04331x22||RISING RED (NZ)||G||5||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||101|
|10||116×632117||TRAP FOR FOOLS||G||5||Jarrod McLean||104|
|12||x437829x79||VENTURA STORM (IRE)||G||6||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||104|
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