Trainer Mick Price has bolstered his chances of winning a third Australian Guineas after promising colt Grunt (O’Reilly x Ruqqaya) confirmed his credentials in a traditional lead-up race at Flemington.
Lightly raced Grunt, ridden by Damien Oliver, took his record to three wins from four starts when he edged past well-performed colt and Australian Guineas favourite Cliff's Edge to take out Saturday's Gr.3 C S Hayes Stakes (1400m).
"He beat the right horse and he won the right way," Price said.
"The 1400 metres is not his ideal distance, it's a bit short for him, but that's his run to get him into the Australian Guineas.
"The Guineas is a Group One and he's a beautiful O'Reilly colt. He's a good-winded horse, perfectly sound, and I think that will take a bit of freshness out of him."
"It's a value race for them as colts," Price said.
Price has won the Australian Guineas with Light Fantastic (2008) and Heart Of Dreams (2009).
It was a lucrative day for Van Nistelrooy mare Ruqqaya who gained a further black type update when her four-year-old daughter Addison (Jimmy Choux) ran third in the Listed Birthday Cup at Morphetville.
Grunt was a $220,000 purchase by Price and Cameron Cooke Bloodstock from Trelawney Stud’s 2016 NZB draft, while Addison was purchased by bloodstock agent Damon Gabbedy for $90,000.
The Savabeel yearling filly from Ruqqaya is set to be consigned by Trelawney at the Inglis Easter Yearling Sale in April and will go through the ring as lot 337. To view the pedigree click here.