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Grunt on song for All Star Mile

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

New Zealand-bred galloper Grunt is set to line-up in the inaugural A$5million All Star Mile (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday and trainer Mick Price is expecting a strong showing from the dual Group One winner.

The four-year-old son of O’Reilly finished midfield in the Gr.3 Shaftesbury Avenue Handicap (1400m) when sporting Yulong’s green colours for the first time earlier this month.

Grunt carried 61.5kg when finishing sixth to Violate in that race and Price is happy with the way he has come through his first-up run and believes the mile distance will suit his charge on Saturday.

"He worked super on Saturday morning," Price said. "I'm very happy with him and he's on the up and up all the time.

"He'll show up in the All-Star Mile and give a really good account of himself.

"He was beaten 2.9 lengths first-up. Perhaps if he would have run third everyone says, 'he's just about to win'.

"You will see him turn up in the mile and you will see him run really well."

Price has identified multiple Group One-winning mare Alizee as the one to beat in the rich mile feature.

"She has got to be the one to beat," Price said. "She's trained at the track and she's in sparkling weight-for-age form. She's got to be the clear pick."

Triple crown in the crosshairs for Melody Belle

Connections of six-time Group One winner Melody Belle are already eyeing up a spring campaign with their star mare.

The Jamie Richards-trained four-year-old, who is raced by Fortuna Syndications, capped an outstanding season when victorious in the Gr.1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (2000m) at Ellerslie on Saturday and will now head to the spelling paddock before returning in the new season.

"She trotted up perfectly this morning, the vet is 100 percent happy with her," syndicate manager John Galvin said. "But we will do some precautionary x-rays before she goes to the paddock, just to make sure there is nothing underlying there.

"She will go to the paddock and come back in on the first of May and we will start to prepare her for the Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (Gr.2, 1200m) again."

Galvin said Melody Belle will follow the same spring path through the Hawke’s Bay spring carnival, however, the Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) will be added to her schedule before a possible tilt at the Gr.1 Cox Plate (2040m) in October.

"This year with Hawke’s Bay our plan is to run in the Livamol, we didn’t run in the Livamol last year," Galvin said.

"Our objective is to win the triple crown, it has never been done.

"With the Cox Plate, that would be her fifth start for that preparation. It’s three weeks after the Livamol.

"While we will nominate her for the Cox Plate, it’s not an absolute certainty that that’s where we go.

"We might freshen and resume after Christmas and go to something like the Waikato Sprint fresh and then there is the All Star Mile."

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