Sport

Verdasco in prime condition for Caulfield Clear Handicap

FIRST-UP specialist Verdasco is primed to give a great sight when he resumes in Saturday's Clear Handicap (1100m) at Caulfield.

The race has attracted some quality nominations, including Group 3 winning sprinter Outlandish Lad, the Mick Price-trained Stratcombe and General Truce, a winner at Flemington on Oaks Day.

Darwin trainer Stephen Brown has also nominated two of his stable stars, Winter King and Canali, but Winter King is an unlikely starter after being scratched from Moonee Valley on Saturday when the stalls opened prematurely and he had to be scratched after the jockey was unable to pull the horse up.

A two-time first-up winner, Verdasco has only been unplaced in one of his previous five runs fresh, including finishing third behind Group 2 winner Second Effort at Caulfield over 1000m last time in.

Bendigo trainer Sean Mott said he was confident the six-year-old would prove hard to keep out.

"He looks great," Mott said.

"He's got dynamic fresh form, first and second up have always been his best runs.

"He had a jump out last Wednesday and went very well, as I'd expect him to."

Despite his age, Verdasco has had just 25 starts for six wins and six placings. His most recent victory came in a 1200m open sprint at Flemington in June.

Mott said he believed the horse had improved since his last campaign.

"He's come back bigger and stronger and I think he's now at his peak maturity and is ready to do the job," he said.

"He's a versatile horse and track conditions don't really bother him other than the fact that he doesn't really like bottomless tracks like he struck at his last run."

Verdasco has been allotted 54kg and leading jockey Luke Nolen has already been booked for the ride.

Topics:  caulfield, horse racing, horses


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