Mick Price is known as a straight shooter.
He’ll give his horses a glowing report when he thinks they’re ready to win but he’s also quick to downplay their chances when he thinks they’re underdone.
So it’s buyer beware when Ardrossan has his return run in the Group Three Bletchingly Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
The three-year-old, who won his first two starts in New Zealand before being transferred to Price in the autumn, has only had one outing for the Caulfield trainer.
Price was disappointed with Ardrossan’s seventh behind Super Cash in the Rubiton Stakes at Caulfield in February but a subsequent scintigraphy report suggested the colt had inflamed hamstrings.
But the three-year-old didn’t inspire Price with his trackwork on Tuesday morning, his final hit-out for Saturday’s race.
“I’m not sure if he can win first-up but I’ve got to run him as his time has come,” Price said.
“I worked him with Miss Oklahoma on Tuesday morning on the course proper and she finished in front of him which was a bit of a concern.
“Michael Dee rode Ardrossan and we were hands and heels and I thought he would run away a bit and beat her.
“She’s not a bad filly but he gives me the impression he may need the run.”
Price said Ardrossan underwent an equestrian program after spelling in a bid to bulk him up.
He has been given a soft progression for his return.. including two Caulfield jump-outs.
“He had a good spell and preparation but there’s not much I can do but run him,” Price said.
“He’s definitely stronger following the equestrian work and he’s certainly not overdone and I suppose Black Heart Bart, Vega Magic, Voodoo Lad and Jukebox, they’re all fit and well and the ones to beat.”
Ardrossan sits on the third line of betting at $6.50 for Melbourne’s final black-type race of the season.
Vega Magic heads the market at $2.15 ahead of Monash Stakes winner Voodoo Lad, who has firmed from $4.20 to $3.70.
Jukebox, third behind Voodoo Lad at Caulfield on July 14, has met with support from $9 to $7.50 since Wednesday’s final acceptances.