Australian Guineas winner Grunt (r) is pleasing trainer Mick Price ahead of his spring targets.
The physical progression Group One-winning colt Grunt has made since the autumn has trainer Mick Price optimistic about the rising four-year-old’s spring prospects.
Price has trained four Group One winners this season including Grunt in the Australian Guineas at Flemington in March.
He prepared Mighty Boss to win the Caulfield Guineas last spring while fillies Hiyaam (Vinery Stud Stakes) and Seabrook (Champagne Stakes) won during the autumn in Sydney.
All four will be aimed towards spring features, with Grunt a potential Cox Plate contender.
“I reckon the one that has made a huge progression is Grunt,” Price said.
“He was a lightish autumn three-year-old. He had a lovely break after the Australian Guineas and he’s a magnificent four-year-old now.
“He’s really improved.”
Grunt is at $26 in early Cox Plate markets headed by Winx and the weight-for-age race is in Price’s sights at this stage with the stallion prospect.
“I think the best race I can win to add to his value is the Cox Plate,” Price said.
“He might be better suited in a Caulfield Cup, I’m not sure, but the better way to add value is to try to win a Cox Plate.”
The Thousand Guineas is a logical target for Seabrook, while Price believes Mighty Boss could be a Toorak Handicap-type horse and potentially stretch out to 2000m.
The trainer said Hiyaam got a foot abscess in Sydney ahead of her return to training but was due back this week.
“She’s coming back on Tuesday. I’ve seen a video of her and she’s 99 per cent sound,” Price said.
The Caulfield Cup is expected to be one of the targets for Hiyaam and Price said the stayer would likely resume over 1600m.
“She probably needs to run first-up over a mile then 2000 (metres) and Caulfield Cup,” he said.
Price said Seabrook had been back in work about three weeks and would be on a path to the Thousand Guineas.
“She’s made a physical progression from her two-year-old year where she was used a bit. We used a bit of fuel on her, but she’s tough. And she thrived in Sydney,” Price said.