The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Mick Price has his Blue Diamond Stakes winner Extreme Choice down to kick-off his autumn at home at Caulfield Racecourse next month in the 2017 Oakleigh Plate.
The gun Not A single Doubt colt – a winner of four of his six career starts to date – will avoid a first-up clash with stablemate Flying Artie by resuming in the $500,000 Group 1 Oakleigh Plate (1100m) on February 25.
“He looks fantastic,” Price said of the dual Group 1 winner speaking to Racing Victoria.
“I keep referring to his weight even though I don’t use it so much as a training tool, but it is a bit of a measure and he raced in the Slipper at about 417kg, which he might have been on the way down even though he got pole-axed.
“At his next preparation he raced at about 450kg and he’s 475kg now.
“There’s also been a little bit of a change in his temperament, which is good.
“He’s always been a bit of a quiet altar boy that horse but now he’s just starting to develop some masculinity about him. He’s got a bit more weight on him. He’s nice and fresh and sound and I’m rapt with the way he looks.”
The run in the Oakleigh Plate will mark 12 months since he hit the headlines with a Blue Diamond Stakes victory at the same meeting last Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival.
Extreme Choice may have failed to go back-to-back against his own kind when running eighth in last year’s Golden Slipper, but he proved the Blue Diamond win was no fluke in the spring.
He beat home the older horses in the Group 1 Moir Stakes (1000m) first-up at Moonee Valley last September before heading to Flemington on Derby Day.
There down the famous straight he only managed to run two lengths back for fifth behind the fellow Price-trained Flying Artie in the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m).
Flying Artie is set to resume back at Flemington in the $750,000 Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning (1000m) before another run at the track on March 11 in the $1.25 million Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m).
Extreme Choice won’t face off against his last start conqueror in the Oakleigh Plate, but will renew rivalries in the 2017 Newmarket Handicap and then possibly again in Sydney during ‘The Championships’.
Both star three-year-olds potentially head towards a culminating autumn run at Royal Randwick on April 1 in the lucrative $2.5 million Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m).
“Extreme Choice will kick-off on Blue Diamond day in the Oakleigh Plate and hopefully, he doesn’t get too badly weighted,” Price said. .
“Then, whether he goes into the Newmarket and William Reid or the Newmarket and TJ Smith I am not sure.
“I know he ran in the Coolmore and he was below par that day but I’m not sure we saw the best of him that day.”
The $500,000 Group 1 William Reid Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on March 24 is a race Price is yet to train the winner of and the last three-year-old to take it out was Foxwedge (2012).
Price’s former champion sprinter Lankan Rupee won the 2014 Oakleigh Plate – Newmarket Handicap – TJ Smith Stakes treble that Extreme Choice may target this season.
Futures TJ Smith Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au have Flying Artie ($9) and Extreme Choice ($10) at the top end of the all-in odds, while Chautauqua ($5) leads the early markets shooting for his third straight win in the race.
Check out the full TJ Smith Stakes 2017 odds and other autumn betting offers online now at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of Odds Boost (T&Cs apply).
Racing fields and data are copyright 2011-2021 © Racing Australia Pty Ltd (RA) (and other parties working with it).
Racing materials, including fields, form and results, is subject to copyright which is owned by RA and other parties working with it. Full copyright notice.