Grunt chas­ing a Group 1 on his home track

The Sportsman Weekend - - News - – NZ Rac­ing Desk

LAST start win­ner Grunt will be aim­ing for a third win at elite level when he lines-up in the Group 1 Un­der­wood Stakes (1800m) on his home track on Sun­day.

Trained at Caulfield by Mick Price, Grunt won the Group 1 Aus­tralian Guineas (1600m) last sea­son be­fore win­ning the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flem­ing­ton a fort­night ago and has now been set on a W.S Cox Plate (2040m) path and clash with cham­pion mare Winx.

Price is happy with the way the four-year-old en­tire has pulled up since his last-start win and said he will have two lead-up runs into the Cox Plate, in­clud­ing Sun­day’s 1800m fea­ture where he has drawn the out­side bar­rier in the ten horse field.

“Grunt has had a cou­ple of gal­lops. He gal­loped here (Caulfield) last Satur­day morn­ing and sat off Fight­ing Harada on Wed­nes­day morn­ing,” he said.

“He’s fit, he’s sound, he’s happy and he’ll take his place (on Sun­day).

“The Cox Plate path with him is to go into the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) after Un­der­wood, that’s in two weeks, and then into the Cox Plate.

“I’ve got to fit in a Moonee Val­ley prac­tice there some­where as well.

“So we’re go­ing to take that path, there is plenty of rac­ing for him and we’ll just play around with in-be­tween runs and he should be fine.”

Price is con­fi­dent with the four-year-old head­ing into this week­end’s as­sign­ment and said Grunt would ap­pre­ci­ate the step up in dis­tance after his two un­placed ef­forts over 1400m at Caulfield fresh-up this sea­son.

“I know 1400m is no good for him around here (Caulfield), but once you get him up to 1800m to 2000m, mo­men­tum changes and they around the cor­ners a bit bet­ter,” Price said.

“He’s a big, long strid­ing horse and he doesn’t want to be in the mess, try­ing to pick up and sprint.

“That is why Flem­ing­ton suits him. I think if he gets a bit of free-run­ning, he’ll be right in the money.”

Trainer Mick Price is happy with Grunt ahead of Sun­day’s Un­der­wood Stakes.

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