The Coolmore Stud Stakes is shaping as one of the races of the spring and some leading contenders including Extreme Choice have impressed in a star-studded jump-out at Flemington.
Group One winners Extreme Choice and Astern were among the big names in an 800m straight-track heat on Friday morning,.
Extreme Choice led and held on for a narrow win over unbeaten colt Russian Revolution in a blanket finish.
Astern appeared to be cruising behind the placegetters in the six-horse trial in a performance that satisfied his trainer John O’Shea.
The heat also included fellow three-year-old Verstappen, Group One-winning five-year-old Turn Me Loose and the Les Bridge-trained Southern Legend.
Price said it was a perfect hit-out for Extreme Choice ahead of Saturday week’s Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) in which the colt will be chasing his third Group One win.
The trainer wanted Extreme Choice to have the experience of the straight course before the Coolmore.
“He was strong to the line and through the line. I thought it was super,” Price said.
“He wasn’t out there to win the trial as such, and Astern was climbing all over them in behind them. There were good horses in it and it was just good to see him down the straight.
“He didn’t seem to have any dramas with it, so I’m looking forward to race day.”
Price respects the likely Coolmore rivals but believes Extreme Choice will be hard to beat.
“Raceday pressure tells all, but I reckon Extreme Choice has got a very, very strong last 200 metres and I think that’s what can win him the race,” he said.
Price has another quality colt, Flying Artie, bound for the Coolmore after his Blue Sapphire Stakes win and says he’s also in good order.
Flying Artie is already familiar with the straight course having run second in the Maribyrnong Plate on debut a year ago.
Peter Snowden was thrilled with Russian Revolution who is also headed to the Coolmore, with the four-time winner working to the line nicely.
“He stayed focused in his work and worked strongly on the bridle. It was good for me to see him going to the line that well and that easy. That experience will do him a lot of good,” Snowden said.