Trainer Patrick Payne (Image: Racing Photos)

Trainer Patrick Payne (Image: Racing Photos)

Grizzlies to take his first shot

For basketball fans, the name Grizzlies was a natural choice for the two-year-old colt that is to make his debut at Flemington on Saturday.

Grizzlies, who will be carrying the Woodside Park Stud colours and logo in the #Lovethehorse (1000m) for trainer Patrick Payne in the opening event, is by Vancouver out of Tennessee, which are locations on the North American continent that the basketball team Grizzlies have called home.

The Vancouver Grizzlies emerged in Canada in 1995 but just five years later, they relocated to Tennessee, where they now play as the Memphis Grizzlies.

Woodside Park Stud chief executive James Price said the colt was retained by Woodside after failing to make his reserve of $150,000 at the Magic Millions Sale on the Gold Coast.

Woodside purchased Tennessee in foal to Vancouver two years ago for $260,000.

"He was a horse we didn't managed to sell at the beginning of the year and he's starting to show some promising signs," Price explained.

"The comments coming from the Patrick Payne stable have been positive and it might well be the case that he needs the run, but we're happy to put him in the deep end and see what he's got."

Price said there were no easy juvenile races around at this time of year as the Magic Millions in January and the Blue Diamond Stakes in February loom large.

"These races are tough at the moment," he said. "Lots of stables and owners are trying to get their horses to the Magic Millions race so it's very competitive at this time of year.

"If he is finishing off and running in the first half of the field, we'd be happy with that.

"He's a very striking, very handsome-looking horse and we're hopeful he's got the ability to match."