By Ray Hickson
If there’s one thing you need to know about trainer Mick Price it’s that he calls it as he sees it and he can only see boom colt Profiteer being very hard to beat in Saturday’s $2m Inglis Millennium (1100m) at Randwick.
The youngster is a commanding favourite, $1.85 with TAB after Tuesday’s acceptances where he drew ideally in six, and that can only add to Price’s bullish talk about Profiteer.
If the expectation from starting a short-priced favourite isn’t enough, there’s a bit of added pressure for the Profiteer team given Newgate Farm’s purchase of a majority stake in the colt last weekend.
Price, who trains in partnership with Michael Kent Jr, said it’s a vote of confidence in his team, a “lovely problem to have”, and it’s the sort of challenge he revels in.
“I like all that stuff. I like when they start short, I like when the pressure’s on, because they usually win,’’ he said.
“He’s a brilliant beginner, he’ll put himself there.
“It’s probably a bit of an unknown if he gets amongst them, if there’s a ruckus or if there's traffic that goes against him. It’s a new thing but it’s going to be a new thing for all of those horses and he’s in a beautiful position.
“He’s not just a speedy two-year-old, he’s a nice looking horse and the older he’s getting the better at it he’s getting too. I think he’s going to go close.”
Price has made successful raids on feature Inglis two-year-old races in the past including snaring the Inglis Nursery with Extreme Choice, who stands at stud at Newgate, in 2015.
When the trainer arrived in Sydney earlier this week he was taken aback by how well Profiteer has done and the events of the past few days have only served to add to his confidence in the horse.
“I hadn’t seen him for 10 days and I was very excited to see how much he’s improved, how he's held his weight, the change in his coat,’’ Price said.
“He’s absolutely thriving. The horse is improving every single day.”
Profiteer, by Golden Slipper winner Capitalist, made an impressive debut at Flemington back in mid-December where he led all the way to an almost three length win.
Price then pushed pause for a short time and he returned to work with the Millennium in mind and quickly took to the job of getting accustomed to the Sydney direction, education he put into practice when winning a barrier trial under race jockey Hugh Bowman at Rosehill last week.
He ran the 896m in 53.03 which was clearly the fastest of the two-year-old trials over that trip on the morning.
“I thought he was excellent, it was good to see him handle close to race pressure this way of going and scoot around the corner on his right leg,’’ Price said.
“Hughie said when he asked for a little bit more he got a little bit more.
Profiteer wins a trial at Rosehill on January 27
“He just moved his hands on him about 50m out to check the response, the response was there and he eased. The time was good, the gallop was great and it was what I had planned for.”
Bowman was again on board for the colt’s final gallop at Rosehill, where he’s housed with Gerald Ryan and Sterling Alexiou, on Tuesday morning and Price gave him full marks.
There was significant rain overnight so Profiteer had the chance to get his toe into a track, something that will come in handy given Randwick will likely have some cushion in it come Saturday.
It’s likely Profiteer, assuming he continues to step up, will return to Sydney for a crack at the Group 1 $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper in March but his immediate task beyond Saturday is the Blue Diamond.
The colt is currently on the third line of Slipper betting with TAB at $15 behind Enthaar ($4.50) and Remarque ($11).