Trainer Mick Price is under no illusions about the task ahead of Blue Diamond Stakes winner Extreme Choice against older sprinting stars in the Moir Stakes.
But the Group One-winning colt will be out to enhance his own reputation when he makes his first appearance as a three-year-old in Friday’s weight-for-age sprint at Moonee Valley.
Extreme Choice was taken to Moonee Valley on Monday morning to gallop in preparation for the Group One race in which he will face the world’s top-ranked sprinter Chautauqua along with three-time Moir winner Buffering and a host of other classy sprinters.
Price said the colt had had a good preparation but also described the challenge ahead in the Moir as difficult.
“A spring three-year-old versus older weight-for-age horses, (it’s) difficult,” Price said.
“But I did speak to Henry Field (from Newgate Farm) and they wanted to run in the Group One. If he can pull it off I suppose it really helps his service fee.
“And if he can’t, he’s going to run against his own age in the Coolmore (Stud Stakes), so that won’t be a problem.
“I think he’s come up well. So it’s just a matter of on the night how he copes with the pressure.”
Extreme Choice is scheduled to take on his own age group in the Blue Sapphire Stakes and the Group One Coolmore Stud Stakes at Flemington after the Moir.
With Craig Newitt aboard, Extreme Choice worked over 800m on Monday and strode out down the running, time at 54.27sec with the final 400m in 25.10sec.
“It’s Monday before the Friday so he wasn’t out to have a gutbuster,” Price said.
He said Extreme Choice had his ears pricked before the turn but he was pleased with the way he finished the gallop off in the last 200m.
“He responded well when he was asked and he’s pretty fit,” Price said.
Extreme Choice’s only defeat in four starts as a juvenile was in the Golden Slipper when he ruined his chances with a slow start.
Price said Extreme Choice had made a physical progression since his juvenile season.
“He was 417 kilos when he ran in the Slipper. He was 429 kilos in the Blue Diamond and he’s about 450 kilos now and he’s nice and fit,” Price said.
“He’s definitely made a physical progression but I suppose you’ve got to measure what he did as a two-year-old versus these older horses now.
“We’ll find out on Friday night.”