Mares head strong Price-Kent hand at HQ
Saturday's Rose of Kingston Stakes looms as an important race for the mares this weekend, with a $1 million bonus on the line if the winner can return to Flemington on Derby Day to also claim the Empire Rose Stakes.
The Empire Rose is a race that the Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr-trained Odeum is all too familiar with, having been beaten by a nose in it by Shout The Bar in the 2020 edition.
Kent Jnr said the mare's first two runs this preparation would help plot their path with the Thousand Guineas winner and if she is to attempt to go one spot better this year.
"She will go to the Tristarc after Saturday and that's the fork in the road if you go to The Golden Eagle or the Empire Rose," he said.
"If she wins one of those first two, there is the mares $1 million bonus for the Empire Rose, so that's very tempting.
"The timing of The Invitation I don't think is going to work for her, so it's the Empire Rose or The Golden Eagle for her."
Odeum hasn't been seen at the track since finishing 11th in that Tatt's Tiarra in June, with connections calling upon the services of Damian Lane for Saturday's assignment after he partnered her in a recent Cranbourne trial.
"She's reasonably forward and spelled and did her pre-training in Queensland," Kent Jnr explained.
"She has had two building trials and since then three or four good gallops and she's been very sharp.
"If she's in a nice spot forward of midfield I am sure she will run well.
"She will naturally improve and she has to carry that Group 1 penalty though."
John Allen retains the ride after partnering her to an all-the-way win last start, but this time will have to contend with barrier 14.
"Annavisto appreciates room and likes to be up rolling forward," he said.
"She can get a bit cranky if you try hold her up, so she's just going to need luck.
"If she can find a nice rhythm I think she can run well.
"She returned with arguably a PB first-up and had she not laid in, might have beaten Turaath and then has won since.
"She looks set to run a big race, but she'll have to in this grade.
"One thing is the Soft track will be no concern with her."
The son of Tavistock returned with a strong maiden win at Cranbourne over 1600m and has drawn barrier 5 with Jye McNeil in the saddle.
"He is one that is really going to appreciate the big track and getting up to 1800 metres," he said.
"The horse has come on leaps and bounds since his maiden and it was a big effort to circle them from the half-mile.
"He's an out-and-out stayer with lots of class."
The stable will be represented by a second son of Tavistock in the Super Impose Stakes, debut winner Tiz Magic.
"We put the blinkers on first-up because we were keen to see him win first-up and they worked, I think it helped him get out of a tricky spot and it was a nice win," Kent Jnr said.
"But going up in trip Damian Lane recommended we take the blinkers off.
"This horse worked with Gunstock and don't discount him, he maybe even worked a bit sharper and we think he will run well."
Sebring filly Daisies will line up in the Edward Manifold Stakes, but Patrick Moloney will have to overcome barrier 13 as she steps up to 1600m for the first time.
"She's shown good talent and we just squeezed her first two runs together, which is probably not ideal, but felt she ran well from a bad spot," Kent Jnr said of her fifth placing in the Thousand Guineas Prelude.
"She is going to appreciate the big-track mile and she has really thrived and done well since.
"She's drawn a touch awkward, so we are just going to need luck, but we are optimistic of a top-three finish."
The Price and Kent stable will also be represented by $110,000 Spirit Of Boom filly Get In The Spirit in the Maribyrnong Trial Stakes.
Lane will stick with the juvenile, who he partnered to win a recent jumpout at Sandown.
"She's very precocious and a very professional filly," Kent Jnr said.
"We are obviously at a disadvantage not being trained on the track and getting a look at the straight, but she's been to Sandown and won a jumpout and Frosty (Lane) likes her to stick with and we think she's a really nice type of horse who is a top-three chance."
Odeum (Image: Racing Photos)