Price leans to Turnbull, Cup for Grunt

Caulfield trainer Mick Price says he is leaning toward the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20th as the next major target for Makybe Diva Stakes champion Grunt (NZ), following a program that could see him line up against the world's best horse Winx.

On Sunday morning after the O'Reilly colt pulled up in fine order, the leading Caulfield trainer told he will convene with connections to map out the best possible path for the stallion-prospect going forward.

"I'll speak to the owners and [jockey] Damien Oliver and just get a feel from them in regards to what's next," Price explained.

"If I had to choose I'd be leaning toward the Turnbull Stakes and then into the Caulfield Cup I'd say.

"Caulfield isn't great for him… 1400m in the Memsie Stakes [on that occasion] Caulfield was no good for him obviously.

"But I still think that once the races get up over in distance that the horses handle it better.

"If we decide to go to the Caulfield Cup then we go that way, and if we decide to go to the Cox Plate then we would have to go the other way [through the Underwood and Caulfield Stakes]."

The dual Group 1 winner ate-up and was bright on Sunday morning and his trainer couldn't be happier.

"He's come through it perfectly, he's got a little scuff on the outside of the near-hind bumper but that's just a little band-aid [fix up] so we'll be fine there and everything else was good," said Price.

"They broke one thirty-five [for official time 1:34.91] in that race so I thought this morning he might have been a little bit tucked up and a bit pooped from the run but he looks fantastic."

Looking back on the dominate victory, Price admitted he wasn't sure how Grunt would measure up off the back of two fair runs at Caulfield over 1400m this preparation.

"I was probably lacking a little bit of confidence for a lightly race four-year-old just coming into weight-for-age territory and taking on the likes of Kings Will Dream and Humidor and those seasoned horses," he said.

"But Grunt just went bang at Flemington and it was great to see.

"It gives me confidence going forward that we can run in the right races that we choose and take them all on."

Price will be hoping for back-to-back Group 1 wins as next Saturday he is set to line up Oregon's Day and Seabrook in feature races.

"Seabrook and Oregon's Day worked together on Saturday morning on the inside grass [at Caulfield] and they flew, it was great work from them," he explained.

"I'm happy to take Seabrook to the Golden Rose and Damien Oliver will take the ride up at Rosehill.

"I'm dying to win a Group 1 with Oregon's Day, she's finished in the placings so many times so I'm going to try and run in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes on Saturday and then into the Toorak Handicap."

Grunt (NZ) and Damien Oliver, picture