The disappointment of losing stable star Samaready before the serious part of her season began has been turned around to such an extent by Mick Price that he is now among the top half dozen trainers in the country.
And at Moonee Valley on Saturday Price is looking hopefully at his best day of the racing year so far.
Price’s day begins with a gamble in the Sportingbet Handicap (1000m) that could tell him a lot about the future of handy filly Isabella Snowflake.
“We’re having a throw at some good prizemoney before we go to the paddock,” Price said.
“My first thought was to give her a break after her last run, but she’s worked so well since that she’s changed my mind.”
Isabella Snowflake finished third to the impressive Shamal Wind over 1200m at Flemington on Oaks Day.
That effort followed wins at her only two previous starts at Caulfield and Flemington, both times over the 1000m of Saturday’s race.
Isabella Snowflake takes on the Darley runner Genteel, a winner at her past two, who shaded her for favouritism on race eve.
Darley again offers the strongest opposition in the LF Sign Group Handicap (1200m) where Price’s Assertive Miss will be attempting to improve on her one-from-one record.
“On form it looks like a bit of a task but we think she’s a metropolitan filly, Price said.
“It’s a big ask at her second start, especially against some nice fillies in a reasonable race, but she should run well.”
Two of the nicest of those fillies are topweight Sabie and Seaside who both run in the maroon and white of Darley.
The Anthony Freedman-trained Sabie is a winner at the Valley, but her other two wins have been in Adelaide in races not much stronger than the one Assertive Miss won at Kyneton at her only appearance.
Seaside, from the Snowden stable, is a Canterbury winner on a heavy track in July and most recently was sixth behind Shamal Wind at Flemington.
Price also runs the impressive Traralgon winner Meritorious in the Programmed Property Services Handicap (2040m).
Meritorious had toiled moderately in shorter races before being stepped up to 1900m and winning by more than four lengths last start.
The extra 140m on Saturday should suit even better and she has strong prospects at double-figure odds.
Price has trained 47-1/2 winners for the season making him the third-placed Victorian on the national trainers’ premiership.