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Grunt is in line for a return to his favoured Flemington track with a daunting clash with champion Winx

After another Caulfield failure in the Underwood Stakes, Grunt is in line for a return to his favoured Flemington track in the Turnbull Stakes and a daunting clash with champion Winx.

Grunt has shown his liking for Flemington with three wins from four starts at the course including Group One victories in the Australian Guineas in March and the weight-for-age Makybe Diva Stakes last month in his past two visits there.

Trainer Mick Price had been planning to go to the Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 13 with Grunt as his final lead-in to the Cox Plate (2040m) but has now changed thoughts after the four-year-old’s Underwood Stakes failure.

Although he is trained at Caulfield, Grunt has been unplaced in his three starts on his home track including his Underwood sixth.

“Grunt has been nominated for the 2018 Turnbull Stakes this Saturday as opposed to returning to Caulfield for the Caulfield Stakes,” Mick Price Racing tweeted.

“All being well with the horse this week, he will run.”

Grunt is among 13 horses nominated to line up against champion Winx in the Turnbull (2000m).

Winx won last year’s Turnbull by 6-1/2-lengths on her way to her third Cox Plate win and Saturday’s race is set to be the final lead-up to her attempt at an unprecedented fourth Cox Plate win at Moonee Valley three weeks later.

The champion has settled in to Chris Waller’s Flemington stable in the past week and had her final piece of fast work in preparation for Saturday on Monday morning with race jockey Hugh Bowman aboard.

Waller said Winx worked well with stablemate Invincibella and ran approximately 1:08 for the 1000m with the last 400m in 23.23 seconds.

“Hugh could not have been any happier with the way Winx felt and the way she finished her work off,” Waller said.

“Hugh and I are both very pleased with the way the preparation has gone as we head towards the third start of her campaign on Saturday. She is in good shape and looks well.”

Winx was at $1.20 on Monday in an all-in market as she chases her 21st Group One win and 28th consecutive victory.

Caulfield Cup favourite King’s Will Dream was on the second line at $13.

Waller has also nominated Group One winners Egg Tart, Unforgotten and Youngstar with entries extended until Tuesday morning.

 
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