Price is right on ex­tra Grunt

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - SPORT - LEO SCHLINK

THE jury might be out on sev­eral of the beaten brigade, but the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flem­ing­ton yes­ter­day reaf­firmed what trainer Mick Price al­ready knew – Grunt is a vastly su­pe­rior per­former at Vic­to­ria’s rac­ing head­quar­ters.

Post­ing his third Group tri­umph at Flem­ing­ton, Grunt ($12) not only pro­vided jockey Damien Oliver with his 110th Group 1, and fifth suc­cess in the race, but gave Price food for thought in re­gards to a Melbourne Cup tilt.

Re­bound­ing from an un­der­whelm­ing eighth in the Mem­sie Stakes be­hind Hu­mi­dor, Grunt showed his ap­pre­ci­a­tion for Flem­ing­ton’s roomy ex­panses by down­ing Caulfield Cup favourite Kings Will Dream ($5) and Jon Snow ($31).

It left Price in the best pos­si­ble quandary, a dilemma over which spring feature to tar­get, the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate or Melbourne Cup.

“He’s in ev­ery­thing, ob­vi­ously,” Price said, out­lin­ing a pos­si­ble path­way to the Caulfield Cup through a Turn­bull Stakes clash with Winx.

“Or if you go Un­der­wood Stakes and the Caulfield Stakes, you’ve got to go to the Cox Plate.

“I’m a bit con­cerned about how he would get around Moonee Val­ley but I hon­estly don’t know which way to go.

“I think he’d be a beau­ti­ful

stay­ing horse. It would not worry me if we ended up in a Melbourne Cup with a lighter weight, 54 (kg) in a Melbourne Cup, it didn’t hurt Rekin­dling to be lightly raced.

“I’ll take a line off that (train­ing) rookie Joe O’Brien and maybe run him in a Melbourne Cup at the end of this prep, who knows?

“He’s a beau­ti­ful big Flem­ing­ton horse and he was a dom­i­nant win­ner to­day.”

Oliver added fur­ther cre­dence to Price’s be­lief Grunt is sig­nif­i­cantly bet­ter at Flem­ing­ton than on his home track Caulfield or The Val­ley.

“I’ve al­ways said to Mick, even work­ing him at Caulfield that ‘This is not re­ally his track’,” Oliver said.

“To­day was a lit­tle bit of D-Day for him but he’s un­beaten here at Flem­ing­ton and he does en­joy the big open spa­ces here.

“It was a nice, truly run race and when I popped out, he just chimed in per­fectly.

“Much dif­fer­ently to what he does at Caulfield. Grunt takes the turns and bal­ances up.

“We saw the real Grunt to­day.”

Adding fur­ther lus­tre to part-owner Ru­pert Legh’s day af­ter vic­tory with Team Hawkes and Bru­tal, Price was re­lieved about the re­sult.

“I was con­cerned he was a bit of a new kid on the block tak­ing on older horses,” he said.

“He’s just a big Flem­ing­ton horse.

“Around Caulfield, a cou­ple of those weight-for-age horses had his mea­sure, like Ke­men­tari and Hu­mi­dor.

“Get him on the beau­ti­ful big track here and that’s him.

“I was re­ally pleased to see him rid­den a nice race.

“He was there to get mown down if they were there to mow him down.

“He was just the best horse on the day to­day.”

Six jock­eys were ques­tioned by stew­ards over in­ter­fer­ence in the Makybe Diva Stakes.

Pic­ture: AAP

DIVA DE­LIGHT: The Mick Price­trained Grunt wins the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flem­ing­ton yes­ter­day – Grunt’s third Group win at the venue.

Pic­ture: AAP

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