BENDIGO trainer Sean Mott is confident stable star Verdasco can make the grade in today’s Group Three Standish Handicap (1200m) at Flemington.
The consistent six-year-old has never raced in Group company, but Mott expects the sprinter to be in the finish today.
“He’s already won a Saturday handicap in town, so this is the next step,’’ Mott said of Verdasco yesterday.
“At his very best I think he can win a black type race and that’s why I’m very happy to have him running in the Standish.”
Mott said Verdasco’s last start eighth behind today’s rival Adamantium was a better run than it suggests on paper.
“In the run we elected to follow the favourite Amah Rock and that horse went terrible,’’ Mott said.
“We got stuck behind the slowest horse in the race and in the meantime the winner skipped away.
“Verdasco’s sectional times showed it was a good run.
“His last 800 was equal to the winner and he had the fastest 600m and 400m.
“That gave me confidence to push on to the Standish.
“He meets horses that finished in front of him that day better at the weights this time around.
“He’s proven down the straight and at the 1200m, so I’m confident he’ll run a big race.”
Mott has high hopes of two strong performances today, with mare Motto’s Gem running in the second race at Flemington today.
Motto’s Gem has always shown Mott plenty of ability, but a string of injuries has held her back.
“Motto’s Gem and Verdasco both won two-year-old trials at Bendigo on the same day (July 20, 2009),’’ Mott said.
“The difference is that Verdasco has been injury free and Motto’s Gem has had a lot of bad luck.
“Her past two runs this campaign have been great. The form out of both starts has stood up.
“She gets her chance to win a city race.”