Mick Price is daring to dream of Cox Plate glory after unbeaten three-year-old Illation thrashed his rivals at Morphettville.
Mick Price is dreaming big after the scintillating display of Illation in Saturday’s Listed Nitschke Stakes at Morphettville, putting the Cox Plate at the top of the wishlist.
The three-year-old son of So You Think couldn’t have been more impressive in his second start, exploding through along the rail early in the straight in the manner of a Group 1 horse.
Smart filly Defining was the runner-up, beaten 3¾ lengths, but she was no match for the winner, who seemingly has the world at his feet.
“I would put a circle around the Cox Plate if you asked me that dream,” said Price, who trains in partnership with Michael Kent Junior.
“He’s a really good colt. I thought this was not the most suitable race for him from barrier one, but you saw his turn of foot to get him out of jail – that’s what we were hoping for.
“I’m not sure what to do at the moment, but I don’t want to spell him because he already thinks he’s the king of the paddock and you have to be careful with these colts.”
Price revealed it was a rare ailment that delayed the start of Illation’s career.
“We thought he was a Derby horse (but) he grew the tiniest, most unusual spur behind his off front knee … it was a tricky operation but he’s beautifully sound now,” he said.
“He’s a real colt with a future.”
Mark Zahra has ridden plenty of good horses in his time but the win prompted some high praise from the star jockey.
“Geez he was impressive,” Zahra said.
“When I gave him a bit of a shake – that was something I haven’t felt in a long time.”
It was the first leg of a feature race double for the stable with Jungle Magnate staking his claims for the Group 1 South Australian Derby after a strong win in the traditional lead-up, the Group 3 Chairman’s Stakes, holding off the late challenge of favourite Harleymoven.
“He’ll be back for the South Australian Derby and I’m pretty sure he can get the distance and hopefully can win,” Price said.
Illation and Jungle Magnate weren’t the only impressive youngsters with Group 1 ambitions to salute on the Australasian Oaks undercard with Richard and Chantelle Jolly’s juvenile See You In Heaven making it three wins from four starts in the Group 3 Breeders’ Stakes.
The odds-on favourite defied a three-wide run in transit to prove far too good for her rivals under Jake Toeroek.
“She’ll either go to the (SA) Sires’ Produce (Stakes) or the David Coles (Stakes) and then spell after that and get ready for the spring,” Richard Jolly said.
“I’d love to think she could run a mile and we could get her to a race like the Thousand Guineas. That’d be a target.”
A Jolly collected the other stakes race on the card as family patriarch Peter snared the Listed City Of Adelaide Stakes with honest veteran Morvada, ridden by Jamie Kah.
Originally published as Morphettville: Mick Price has Cox Plate aspirations with impressive Illation