Mick Price has trained his third Group One Australian Guineas winner as Grunt overpowered Victoria’s best three-year-olds in the $1 million race at Flemington.
Grunt joined previous Price winners Light Fantastic (2008) and Heart Of Dreams (2009) after jumping from the widest barrier on Saturday under Damien Oliver.
Price now joins Colin Hayes and Lee Freedman as the most successful Australian Guineas trainers while Oliver also celebrated his third victory.
Sent out the $5.50 second favourite, Grunt held off Peaceful State ($8.50) to win by a half length with Bring Me Roses ($21) 1-1/2 lengths away third.
Price will now consider a trip to Sydney for the Rosehill Guineas on March 24, although a spell is also an option.
The Caulfield-based horseman is already thinking of the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley in October.
“I’m mindful that he’s going to be a really good four-year-old,” Price said.
“It wouldn’t worry me if I had to put him out. He’s not light, but he’s not furnished yet.
“I don’t know if he’s got a trip to Sydney in him but the only race I’d go to would be the Rosehill Guineas.”
Grunt was one of three runners Price saddled in Saturday’s feature with Holy Snow finishing fifth and Mighty Boss 14th.
He said all three colts went through his two-year-old program but weren’t mature enough to handle the rigours of racing so early in their careers.
In taking his time Price has realised two Guineas victories this season.
“Mighty Boss won the Caulfield Guineas, Holy Snow had trained off by the Guineas last year and has run well in this and Grunt’s now a Group One winner,” Price said.
“They were always going to be nice horses, they’re colts and I like getting colts to be Group One winners and making sires of them.”
Despite jumping from the widest gate, Oliver was able to get Grunt into a one-off position by mid-race.
Like Price, Oliver has confidence Grunt will develop further into his racing career.
“He’s a magnificent specimen of a horse and he deserved a really strong Group One win like that today,” Oliver said.
Brad Rawiller was full of praise for runner-up Peaceful State, who like Grunt is lightly raced.
“At the end of the day he was better on the day but my bloke still hasn’t fully seasoned yet and down the track there’ll be a Group One for him,” Rawiller said.
GRUNT by name and GRUNT by nature!
Grunt wins the Australian Guineas at @FlemingtonVRC!
— 7HorseRacing 🐎 (@7horseracing) March 3, 2018