Luke Price sees shades of stable star Man Of Choice in promising juvenile Can Party.
And the co-trainer hopes the talented two-year-old can follow a similar path to the one-time Group 1 placegetter after notching up an impressive maiden victory at Kembla Grange on Saturday.
Can Party was too good for a field of older horses when he surged to a neck win over Gwenda Markwell’s Bugeisha in the Kembla Grange Maiden Plate (1200m), with Markwell’s Samurai Sword in third.
The strong performance came as no surprise to Price. He has always held a high opinion of the son of Excelebration and likened the gelding to one of his best ever horses in Man Of Choice.
“I know the ability is there,” Price, who trains alongside his father Rob, said.
“I can’t wait to get him out to 1400m or a mile.
“Whether we go to the paddock for a short let-up now and look to the better three-year-old races early in the preparation, we will make that decision in the next couple of days.
“He is doing a great job. He has always promised to do something like that so it was good to get the maiden out of the way.”
Man Of Choice also won his maiden at Kembla Grange before going on to compete at the top level in the early season three-year-old events.
The Manhattan Rain gelding finished third behind Chris Waller’s Vanbrugh in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) in 2015
Whethere Can Party will contest races at the same level remains to be seen, but Price was certain he will be suited by the longer trips.
“Once he learns to stretch out and even gallop properly, we are going to see him come into his own,” he said.
“He is a lovely big, long striding horse.”
Can Party ($5) needed most of the straight to wind up at his home track on the weekend.
Leading jockey Jeff Penza sat patiently at the rear of the field in the running and eventually made his run with Bugeisha ($4) down the outside when they hit the straight.
The two back-markers had no trouble rounding up the leaders as Can Party edged out Markwell’s by a neck at the post, with Samurai Sword ($7.50) a further 1-¼ lengths back in third.
The victory was made more impressive by the fact that Can Party was the sole two-year-old in the field.
“We didn’t have much choice but to race him against the older horses,” Price said.
“We had him in at Wagga on Monday and there was eleven horses out there. I walked the track here on Monday and it is in great condition.
“When there wasn’t many acceptors, we had to clash him against the other horse.
“He has taken on the older horses and done a good job. He is obviously above average because not many two year olds can do that.”
Penza, who looks certain to win the Kembla jockey premiership, notched up another double when he piloted another promising juvenile to victory in Brook Magic for trainer Joseph Pride.