Promising three-year-old Secret Hills will be Mick Price’s only runner at Moonee Valley in what has been a slow start to the spring for the Caulfield trainer.
A winner of two of three starts, Secret Hills hasn’t been seen since June and is fresh for Saturday’s Listed Mitchell McKenzie Stakes (1200m).
Price has also nominated for the race impressive debut Geelong winner Costly Commitment but is planning to reserve him for a $50,000 three-year-old event at Seymour on Sunday.
“I have got a good opinion of both horses but will probably split them up this weekend,” Price said.
He said it had been “very quiet” for the stable this month but some of his stars would be back racing in the next two or three weeks.
Group One-winning weight-for-age performer Heart Of Dreams and multiple stakes-winning sprinter Dubleanny will both have jumpouts at Caulfield on Tuesday morning.
Heart Of Dreams will resume in the Group Two Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 27 and Dubleanny will kick-off her spring campaign along with her Group One-winning stablemate Aloha in the Group Three Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington on September 3.
Price has entered both Secret Hills and Costly Commitment for the $1 million Caulfield Guineas on October 8 in the hope they will make the grade.
Secret Hill is a $130,000 son of Starcraft and Danehill mare Hill Of Peace and has become more focused since he was gelded after his race debut when he beat one horse home in the Blue Diamond Preview won by Sepoy.
Four months later he won his next start leading all the way at Bendigo on June 2 and graduated to city class with another impressive 3-3/4 length win at Moonee Valley on June 18.
“Forget his first run because he was a very distracted colt on the day so he got gelded and since then his form has been very good,” Price said.
Encosta De Lago colt Costly Commitment is from the former Price-trained mare Mutate, who was stakes performed.
Last Monday both horses competed in trials at Cranbourne with Costly Commitment winning and Secret Hill finishing second to Unpretentious who is set to make his race debut in the McKenzie.
Among other entries are Peter Moody’s exciting youngster Huegill who was third to Sepoy and Running Tall at his only start in the Blue Diamond Prelude.
Danny O’Brien-trained Running Tall and stablemate The New Boy, who has won two of his three starts, are also nominated as are debut winners Amah Rock, Dontmentionthewar, Niconoise and Sabrage.
Hot Spin, who has won his last two starts at Caulfield, looks a serious contender again and Kid Kobe has shown promise.
Notably Caulfield Guineas winners St Covet (1994) and Anacheeva (2010) both won the Mitchell McKenzie Stakes.
Other McKenzie Stakes winners have included Blazing Reality (1996), Bel Esprit (2002), the Price-trained Light Fantastic (2008) and Carrara (2009).