Group One races in Sydney and Melbourne figure in Mick Price’s spring hopes for lightly raced colt Shotmaker who makes his season return in the McNeil Stakes at Caulfield.
Shotmaker was runner-up on debut in the Blue Diamond colts and geldings Prelude in February before finishing 11th in the Group One Blue Diamond a couple of weeks later in his only other appearance as a two-year-old.
Price is hoping to take Shotmaker to Sydney after Saturday’s Group Three McNeil Stakes (1200m) for three-year-olds.
The Run To The Rose and Group One Golden Rose (1400m) are in his plans for Shotmaker who he says is a big, robust colt but also inexperienced who would benefit from a trip away.
Price, who now trains in partnership with Michael Kent Jnr, also hopes to get Shotmaker to the Group One Caulfield Guineas (1600m) later in spring.
“I get optimistic on good colts and he is a good colt, I reckon,” Price said.
“How good he is? I’m not really sure. But we’re just trying to make his form as good as we can and win something really good.
“I want to go to Sydney with him. I think he’s the sort of horse who will improve if I do go to Sydney.”
Shotmaker faces a field of nine in the McNeil which features the promising Anthony Freedman-trained stablemates Super Seth and King Of Hastings who occupy the top two lines of early betting at $3.90 and $4.60 respectively.
Shotmaker was $8 on Wednesday, one of six runners at singles figures, and Price expects whatever he does first-up, Shotmaker will improve both fitness-wise and through experience.
“He’s inexperienced and I think he’s maybe lacking a little bit of fitness,” Price said.
“He’s had a good preparation and I had two trials lined up for him which were going to fit in really well. But in one trial he burst through the barriers and cantered around Caulfield with no rider, so he missed out on that trial.
“But he trialled well at Cranbourne on a heavy track right alongside King Of Hastings.
“He worked on the course proper at Caulfield on Tuesday and he worked away from his working partner and looked at the witches hats, so he doesn’t 100 per cent concentrate.
“But I think from barrier four he’ll put himself in a forward position, have the run of the race and hopefully he finishes off well.”