Four-year-old Grunt is prominent in All-Star Mile voting and trainer Mick Price is convinced the dual Group One winner is on track to be a force in the inaugural $5 million race.
Grunt’s Group One wins have both been over the All-Star Mile course and distance of 1600m at Flemington in last year’s Australian Guineas and Makybe Diva Stakes.
His spring campaign was cut short after he put in below-par runs in the Underwood Stakes and Turnbull Stakes after winning the Makybe Diva, but Price is happy with how the entire is preparing for his autumn campaign.
The All-Star Mile on March 16 is his second-up target.
“I’m very confident that if he’s right he can win the All-Star Mile,” Price said.
“He only has to be right, and I think he is right.”
Price said the horse was sent for scintigraphy, to be thorough, after his two below-par runs at the end of his spring campaign.
“Every single horse I’ve sent to scintigraphy comes back with a few things wrong with it. His came back and can’t find anything wrong. It’s the best diagnosis ever,” Price said.
“So with nothing wrong with the horse, he’s the one to beat (in the All-Star Mile).”
Price is bypassing two Group One weight-for-age races at Caulfield in the next three weeks with Grunt who has not been as effective at his home track and he will instead have a trial at Cranbourne.
Price plans to run Grunt first-up in the Group Three Shaftesbury Avenue (1400m) on March 2 at Flemington under handicap conditions and expects him to get 61.5kg.
“He’ll be very fit for that race which is 14 days before the All-Star Mile,” Price said.
Grunt is currently fourth in the voting for All-Star Mile spots with the top 10 securing a berth before Racing Victoria decide four other wildcards to make up the field.
Price’s runners at Caulfield on Saturday are set to include two-year-old colt Shotmaker who will be out to press his Blue Diamond Stakes claims on debut in the colts and gelding Blue Diamond Prelude.