Grunt

Price hoping Grunt can grab more glory at Flemington in The All-Star Mile

Trainer Mick Price has nominated Grunt for The All-Star Mile in the hope that he can continue his love affair with Flemington, where his stable star has claimed both his Group 1 wins.

Grunt has won three times from four starts at Flemington, with his two victories at racing’s highest level – in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes and the Group 1 Australian Guineas – achieved over The All-Star Mile distance of 1600m.

The four-year-old, who races in the colours made famous by enigmatic sprinter Chautauqua, becomes the third Group 1 winner – after Happy Clapper and Foundry – to be entered for the world’s richest mile race on Saturday, March 16. 

Grunt, who has already earned more than $1 million in prizemoney from just ten career starts, has not been seen since finishing down the field behind Winx in the Turnbull Stakes in October. 

But he has now fully recovered from the minor injury which curtailed his involvement in the Spring Racing Carnival and, according to Price, the Kiwi-bred galloper is happy, healthy and raring to go for his autumn campaign. 

“The All-Star Mile is tailor-made for him,” said Price, who is likely to give Grunt one lead-up run before the $5 million showpiece.

“His record over a mile at Flemington is outstanding, so there was never any doubt that we would be entering him for the race. Obviously the prizemoney is very attractive, but I also think it’s a great concept so I’m all for it. It’s important to have innovation in racing, new races like this are exactly what we need so the thinktank behind the concept should be congratulated. 

“It’s difficult to predict how it will play out in the first year, but I’m hopeful he’ll win enough votes to get into the race. He has the right profile and form lines, so if people are being objective rather than subjective and voting for the horse they think can win the race, then I’d like to think he’d be pretty close to the top of the list. Or maybe we’ll just have to start a campaign that if you vote for Grunt, you can come to the stable and give him a pat!”  

Grunt has been joined in the nominations list by WA raider Material Man, who won the 2018 Perth Cup and was placed at Group 1 level in his last two starts.  

The seven-year-old is trained in Perth by Justin Warwick, the former star WA trotting trainer-driver who switched to training thoroughbreds and will be saddling his first runner in Victoria should Material Man gain a place in The All-Star Mile field. 

Material Man’s story has been a family affair for Warwick, whose daughter Lucy has ridden the gelding in ten of his last 11 races. Remarkably, Material Man has finished outside the top three just twice from those ten starts, taking his career earnings past the $1.5 million mark in the process.