In-form jockey Luke Currie will add some new flavour to Grunt’s chances when he lines up in the Group 1 $1m Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Currie replaces nine times Scobie Breasley Medal winner Damien Oliver who has ridden Grunt at his last three races starts which includes wins in the Group 3 $150,000 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington and in the Group 1 $1m Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington during the 2018 Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
Oliver was also aboard the Mick Price trained four year old for a first up fifth to Showtime in the Group 2 $200,000 Sir John Monash P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 18.
Oliver has elected to stick with Vega Magic in the Memsie Stakes after riding the Lindsay Park trained sprinter to victory in the Group 3 $150,000 The Big Screen Company Bletchingly Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield on July 28.
Price is keen to get Grunt back to Flemington for the Group 1 $750,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) on September 15 but admits the Australian Guineas winner will need a tough run over the 1400m in the Memsie Stakes to bring him back to his top.
Saying that, Price still thinks that Grunt is a genuine chance in the Memsie Stakes after a solid first up fifth in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes.
“I think he’s nice and fresh and I’m allowing this 1400-metre race to bring him on for the Makybe Diva,” Price told AAP.
“The other consideration, if he was to fluke winning the Memsie, stick his head out at the right time, it would greatly help his stud career.”
“He pulled up too well and I don’t reckon I could win a tough mile at Flemington four weeks between runs second-up.”
“He’s a colt and you can’t get the work into him.”
Vega Magic was the winner of the 2017 Memsie Stakes with Craig Williams in the saddle and is the $2.80 favourite with Ladbrokes.com.au to claim back to back wins in the first Group 1 race of the 2018 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
Grunt is sharing the fourth line of betting at $9 with the Darren Weir trained import Kings Will Dream while Kementari at $5 and Happy Clapper at $5.50 are the second and third picks in the early betting.
Pre-post betting for the 2018 Memsie Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2.80 Vega Magic, $5 Kementari, $5.50 Happy Clapper, $9 Grunt, Kings Will Dream, $13 Showtime, $15 Hartnell, $17 Black Heart Bart, $21 Danon Liberty, Oregons Day, $26 Dollar For Dollar, Humidor, Jungle Edge, $34 Widgee Turf, Red Cardinal $201.