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Caulfield trainer Mick Price has had a change of thinking and will now direct last Saturday’s Group 1 winner Grunt to The Valley to take on Winx in the 2018 Group 1 $5m Ladbrokes c (2040m) on October 27.

Makybe Diva Stakes winner, Grunt, above, is set to take on Winx in the 2018 Ladbrokes Cox Plate at The Valley. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Makybe Diva Stakes winner, Grunt, above, is set to take on Winx in the 2018 Ladbrokes Cox Plate at The Valley. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Grunt stormed home to collect his second Group 1 victory over the Flemington 1600m with an emphatic win in the Group 1 $750,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).

The O’Reilly stallion had shown his liking for the open spaces of Flemington with a win during his three year old season in the Group 1 $1m Australian Guineas (1600m) during the 22018 Melbourne Autumn Carnival.

Following Grunt’s win in the Makybe Diva Stakes, Price said that the four year old would most likely be set for a Cups campaign during the Spring Carnival  and aim for Group 1 $5m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20 and the Group 1 $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 6.

But following a meeting with connections and Makybe Diva Stakes winning jockey Damien Oliver, Price has decide to stick to a weight for age program for Grunt for the remainder of the Spring Carnival which will include taking on Chris Waller’s super mare Winx in the Cox Plate.

Winx created history with a third straight win in the Cox Plate last year when she beat Humidor by half a length and Price took a form line through Humidor who finished three and a half lengths behind Grunt in the Makybe Diva Stakes.

“She (Winx) defeated Humidor by three-quarters of a length last year. We were close-up behind him two starts ago and then we beat him on Saturday comfortably,” Price told the Herald Sun.

“Damien just made a comment that he didn’t think an 18-horse handicap, charging down the straight at Caulfield in a Caulfield Cup would suit him, and then the Melbourne Cup.

“You’ve got to have a plan and that’s if for the moment but he’ll stay in the Caulfield Cup as a back-up though.”

Winx recorded her twenty-seventh straight win and collected he twentieth Group 1 trophy when she toyed with her opposition in winning the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White (George Main) Stakes (1600m) at Randwick last Saturday and has cemented her place at the top of the Cox Plate betting at Ladbrokes.com.au at $1.33.

The Darren Weir trained Humidor remains on the second line of betting at $15 while Grunt is listed at $21.

Early betting for the 2018 Cox Plate at Ladbrokes.com.au: $1.33 Winx, $15 Humidor, $21 Grunt, $26 Benbatl, D’Argento, Kings Will Dream, $41 Kementari, Avilius, The Autumn Sun, Unforgotten, $61 Blair House, Cliffs Of Moher, Egg Tart, Folkswood, Lean Mean Machine, Night’s Watch, The Taj Mahal, $101 or better the rest.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.