Mick Price is open minded to the chances of Lastotchka in the Melbourne Cup and recognises the challenge ahead against the likes of Irish hot horse Vauban, Caulfield Cup winner Without A Fight and returning Cup winner Gold Trip.
Having been charged with the care of the French galloper towards Tuesday’s 163rd edition of the Group 1 3200-metre feature, he says her race style will be suited by drawing barrier 21, and that the weight scale will have a high percentage of the field putting the forward pressure on the race early on.
“Barrier 21 out a bit there but there are 16 horses that are (carrying) within 50 to 53 kilos so there should be a roll forward to the winning post the first time,” Price said.
“Why would you want to be getting back?”
Lastotchka is among that group with 51-kilograms allotted by the handicapper.
There were high hopes on her from her initial sale in 2022 in France for 590,000 euros – just short of AU$1 million.
“Her pattern in France is that she sits in the first three and it is a 3200-metre handicap and she’s got no weight,” Price added.
“That will be the conversation I have with Craig Williams and one would assume that by the time they get to the back of the course, she’s in a good, handy spot.”
Already a Melbourne Cup winning jockey aboard Vow And Declare in 2019, Craig Williams takes the reins on Lastotchka with the 21 gate being familiar territory having started from draw on that career-crowning day as well.
Lastotchka comes to Flemington off a win in the Group 3 Prix Gladiateur (3100m) at Longchamp on September 3.
While Williams has the task of having the five-year-old mare – in southern hemisphere timing – up among the leaders after the first 1000-metres, Price knows he has what it takes to do it.
“Somehow he finds that little ‘weasel way’ of winning these big races,” he said of Williams.
“He rode her here on Tuesday and he’d done a bit on her before and got her exactly right.”
The Willie Mullins-trained pair Vauban ($3.60 favourite with bookmakers) and Absurde ($18) also stepped out for a look at Flemington that morning and while his eye was taken by Vauban, Price is readying for Lastotchka ($26) to make her presence felt.
“The work was perfect,” Price added.
“And he (Williams) got off her and, quite rightly, said she’s spot on but just needs to be good enough.
“I think that is fine and the market reflects that realistically.
“She’ll stay and if she’s at the fat end of the prizemoney at that end of the race, fantastic.”