Making a comeback to riding after breaking his neck rates as Luke Price’s finest moment in racing.
But he is adamant achieving a top-three result in the Spring Champion Stakes would be its equal as the young trainer prepares to send Man Of Choice into the Group One race at Randwick on Saturday.
As a jockey, Price was always riding on borrowed time because it was obvious he was going to become too heavy.
The fact he made it back at all after such a serious injury, shedding 12kg before retiring for good when he hurt his knee in another fall, says much about his character.
“I wasn’t meant to ride again because I fractured my C2 but 18 months later I got a clearance,” Price said.
“At this stage it’s one of my greatest achievements … coming back. I had to shed 10 to 12 kilos and I think my second day back at the track I rode a winner.
“Not much beats that feeling but I think on Saturday if Man Of Choice can just run a hole (place) it would definitely match it.”
Price works in tandem his father Robert training a small string of horses about a 2-1/2 hour drive south of Sydney and they will have to conquer the might of the Chris Waller stable to land their biggest payday.
Waller trains the odds-on favourite Vanbrugh, the colt which left Man Of Choice fighting out the minor placings in the Gloaming Stakes.
Man Of Choice is raced by a syndicate which includes Andrew Rose, an owner who enjoyed Group One success last year with the Gai Waterhouse-trained Almalad who has since been sold to Hong Kong.
It was Rose’s involvement with Belle De Coeur, a mare Price trained to several stakes placings, that reaffirmed a connection with the stable that the trainer says is a welcome change.
“Being in the country you sometimes get a lot of hand-me-down horses from the city stables,” Price said.
“It’s really good for us to be given a quality young horse to train from the start to be able to show your talents.”
Vanbrugh is all the rage to give Waller his third Group One win in Sydney for the season – but his first in the 2000m race for three-year-olds – after the colt dominated the Gloaming Stakes finish from the 300m.
Waller was steadily making his way in Sydney racing when All Black Gold was narrowly beaten by Teranaba in the 2006 edition.
The race turned out to All Black Gold’s last after he broke down while being prepared for the 2007 autumn carnival.