The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Trainer Mick Price celebrated his third win in Saturday’s 2018 Australian Guineas after a beautiful effort from his untapped young stayer Grunt at Flemington Racecourse.
Price previously prepared back-to-back Australian Guineas winners with genuine milers Light Fantastic (2008) and Heart Of Dreams (2009).
This Melbourne Festival of Racing the Caulfield-based horseman saddled-up three chances in the Group 1 $1 million Australian Guineas (1600m) and came away victorious with his flying O’Reilly colt Grunt.
Backing-up from a win in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at the track a fortnight back, Grunt enjoyed his fourth victory on the trot and became the third horse in four years to do the CS Hayes – Australian Guineas double.
Jockey Damien Oliver retained the ride and also posted his third Australian Guineas success having previously been aboard Flying Spur (1996) and Mr. Murphy (2001) for their respective wins in the mile classic.
Grunt had work to do in his Group 1 maiden drawn out in barrier 16 of 16 and joined the filly Mosheen (2012) as the only horses to win from that wide in over 30 years.
Oliver pushed forward early with Grunt who eventually settled around sixth just off the pace set by the Darren Weir-trained favourite Cliff’s Edge who was looking to go all-the-way for the punters.
Weir’s Canford Cliffs colt and CS Hayes runner-up last time out Cliff’s Edge retained a dominant three length lead around the turn, while the Tony McEvoy-trained filly Bring Me Roses improved on her fourth position railing through on the inside.
It was Grunt flying home down the outside that presented as the big danger however, reeling in Cliff’s Edge at the 250m with Bring Me Roses and Villermont also closing hard.
Up the middle, Grunt ($5.50) was too strong once he hit the front and fought it out to post an impressive victory over the other Weir runner in the race Peaceful State ($8.50) who showed nice improvement after a lead-up seventh in the CS Hayes Stakes.
Bring Me Roses ($21) on the back of a second against her own kind in the Group 3 The Vanity meanwhile rounded out the Australian Guineas trifecta in a brave third for last year’s winning trainer McEvoy and jockey Luke Currie.
The Australian Guineas winner Grunt got a lovely run in transit, presented at the right time and was too good for the brave runner-up Peaceful State who made a real race of it late in a high calibre edition of the race won win 1:34.99.
“I just had a lovely run and when I pulled him out and asked him for the effort…he was too strong for him [Peaceful State],” Oliver said.
“He fought him off well.
“He’s just a magnificent specimen of a horse and he really deserves to win a class Group 1 race like that.”
Price was thrilled with the Australian Guineas result, but was far from confirming Grunt for a trip to Sydney this autumn.
“It was a good job to have to use a bit of horse early…the race worked out good for us,” he said.
“He still had to tough it out.
“How he won, it’s the horse he is. Just a beautiful, big Flemington horse with a big set of lungs.
“The only race I’d go for is the Rosehill Guineas over 2000m.
“I’m very mindful he’s going to be a really good four-year-old and it wouldn’t bother me if I had to put him out…he’s done his job.
“I don’t know if he’s got a trip to Sydney in him or not.
“This horse has 2000 metres in him, no question. He might have a mile and a half (2400m) in him, or two miles (3200m) even, I’m not really sure.
“But he’s a big clean winded, really good colt.”
The Group 1 $600,000 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) takes place on Golden Slipper Day, March 24, and also features the next race by champion mare Winx who won the Chipping Norton Stakes in Sydney this weekend for the third time by a massive seven lengths.
To back Grunt next race at the right price head to Ladbrokes.com.au this autumn.
2018 Australian Guineas Results & Finishing Order
Flemington Race 7 – 03/03/2018
|1||11||GRUNT (NZ)||Mick Price||Damien Oliver||–||16||56.5kg||$5.50|
|2||13||PEACEFUL STATE||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||0.5L||10||56.5kg||$8.50|
|3||16||BRING ME ROSES||Tony McEvoy||Luke Currie||2L||1||54.5kg||$21|
|4||6||VILLERMONT||Aaron Purcell||Luke Nolen||3.5L||6||56.5kg||$26|
|5||9||HOLY SNOW||Mick Price||Michael Dee||4.5L||13||56.5kg||$19|
|6||5||MURAAQEB||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Damian Lane||4.6L||14||56.5kg||$17|
|7||2||CLIFF’S EDGE||Darren Weir||John Allen||4.7L||15||56.5kg||$4.60F|
|8||3||EMBELLISH (NZ)||Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards||Opie Bosson||5.45L||8||56.5kg||$16|
|9||10||SALSAMOR (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Jordan Childs||5.65L||11||56.5kg||$61|
|10||7||MAIN STAGE (NZ)||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||Regan Bayliss||6.05L||4||56.5kg||$12|
|11||8||ADDICTIVE NATURE||Bjorn Baker||Craig Williams||7.3L||7||56.5kg||$16|
|12||12||BLACK SAIL (NZ)||Aaron Purcell||Ben Thompson (a)||8.05L||3||56.5kg||$101|
|13||15||ALOISIA (NZ)||Aaron Purcell||Mark Zahra||8.45L||12||54.5kg (cd 55kg)||$11|
|14||1||MIGHTY BOSS||Mick Price||Michael Walker||9.95L||2||56.5kg||$17|
|15||14||MR SO AND SO||Anthony Freedman||Beau Mertens||10.15L||5||56.5kg||$41|
|16||4||LEVENDI||Peter Gelagotis||Ben Melham||25.15L||9||56.5kg||$31|
|–||18e||MAHALANGUR (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||–||0||–||–|
|–||17e||PARET||Chris Waller||Craig Newitt||–||0||–||–|
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