Grunt has overcome the outside barrier to win the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington Racecourse this afternoon.
The writing was on the wall for his rivals when Grunt produced a big turn of foot to easily win the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) a fortnight ago, but the horse’s chances of repeating that effort and result appeared to dim when he was allocated sixteen of sixteen earlier this week.
The O’reilly colt showed plenty of speed from the gates this afternoon and was able to cross the field with relative ease; taking a position better than midfield as Cliff’s Edge, Addictive Nature and Levendi dictated terms across the back straight.
Worked into the clear as the field turn for home, champion hoop Damien Oliver allowed the horse plenty of time to balance before asking for an extra effort and was rewarded for the decision when Grunt ($5.50) produced his big turn of foot in the final 200m; savaging the line for a close win over market mover Peaceful State ($8.50); tough filly Bring Me Roses ($21) boxing on well for third.
Oliver delivered a typically brilliant performance aboard Grunt to win the Australian Guineas, but was quick to heap the praise on his talented mount after crossing the line.
“We just had a lovely run and when I pulled him out and asked for the effort, that Peaceful State came to him who is a good horse, and he was too strong for him,” Oliver said.
“He’s just a magnificent specimen of a horse and he deserved a really strong Group 1 like that today.”
Trainer Mick Price was pleased with Grunt’s tough Australian Guineas win and revealed that the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) in Sydney in three weeks’ time might be his final campaign target this time.
“It was a good job to have to use a bit of horse early and the race really worked out for us,” Price said.
“I was a little bit concerned when I was looking at the sectionals and seeing how the were running along, I thought he was in a good spot but still had to tough it out.
“How he won, the horse he is, is just a beautiful and big Flemington horse with a big set of lungs on him.
“The only race I would go forward to is the Rosehill Guineas over 2000m. I am mindful that he’s going to be a really, really good four-year-old.
“I wouldn’t bother me if I had to put him out, his job is sort of done and he’s not light, but he’s not furnished yet. I’m not sure if he’s got a trip to Sydney in him, but the Rosehill Guineas is what it would be.”
Grunt jumped the $5.50 favourite in the Australian Guineas this afternoon.