Price lauds new star, Busuttin looks to Derby hope
MICK Price has a big opinion of Leonardo Da Hinchi, who makes his debut for the trainer at Caulfield on Saturday, so much so that he's aiming him at next month's Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m).
Price though acknowledges the three-year-old colt faces a genuine test against seasoned older sprinters when he resumes at Caulfield in the Spicer Thoroughbreds Handicap (1200m).
"I'm happy with him. He's a nice colt, he's a good colt and I'm planning on starting him in the Stradbroke Handicap at his third run back," Price said.
Price said his plan was for Leonardo Da Hinchi to start in the Fred Best Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm on May 28.
Leonardo Da Hinchi was a member of Darren Weir's stable and last spring placed twice behind Brutal before winning the Group 2 Stutt Stakes at The Valley.
His last run was in the Caulfield Guineas, where he finished sixth, and Price said the colt needed time to recover from a busy campaign.
"He's spent a good chunk of his time, 10 weeks, at my Warrnambool stables before he came here," the trainer said.
Leonardo Da Hinchi easily won a Caulfield 800 metres jumpout recently when ridden by Brad Rawiller
"He's up and running. His fitness is okay, there's not a lot of room to move with him," Price said.
"There's a few things against him. He's a three-year-old first-up from a long spell on a wet track against some handy older sprinters but I think he's going really well."
"His run when close second to Brutal at Flemington over 1400m was the sign of a very good horse."
Leonardo Da Hinchi has had one run on a rain-affected track, winning on a Soft 6 circuit at Sandown Hillside.
Price said the Caulfield track was softish but didn't think it would get to a heavy track.
BUSUTTIN BULLISH ON SAVVY OAK
TRENT Busuttin's confidence heading to the South Australian Derby was deflated when his colt Savvy Oak finished second as an odds-on favourite at Cranbourne last start.
In terms of Saturday's South Australian Derby though, Busuttin believes Savvy Oak can bounce back and is a definite chance in the race.
"I'm not going to be saying he'll be winning, but I think he's a top-five chance and at the odds on offer he represents value," Busuttin said.
"I would have liked to have seen him win at Cranbourne. We had left him a bit fresh knowing he's heading over for this and he over-raced quite badly. He had 60kg against older horses and it just took the sting out of him. It was disappointing he got beaten."
Busuttin said the South Australian Derby was a really strong race and as good as the Victoria Derby and Australian Derby.
Savvy Oak is a $21 chance with Ladbrokes.
Last spring, Savvy Oak finished seventh in the Victoria Derby, was beaten just under four lengths.
Busuttin said things didn't go the colt's way in that race.
"He kept getting held up and couldn't gain momentum. His jockey Mark Zahra said he wasn't quite experienced enough to take the gaps," he said.
"He's got the right breeding and he's also got barrier one which is going to be a big help. He'll also be ridden by Michael Walker who is a big-race rider.
"We'll use the barrier and take up a position and he'll run well for sure."