Price not getting ahead of himself on Verbek’s spring chances Loading 3rd party ad content Loading 3rd party ad content Loading 3rd party ad content Loading 3rd party ad content

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By Ray Hickson

There’s no doubt in trainer Robert Price’s mind that Verbek has the scope to develop into a talented galloper for the stable but warns his return at Kembla Grange on Thursday is very much a starting point.

Interestingly, in a bit of insight into the Price stable’s opinion of the gelding, the spring blueprint initially included an option to head to the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) but time has beaten him and focus turns to getting things rolling in the Edgar Britt Handicap (1000m).

Trainer Robert Price.

Trainer Robert Price.Credit:Getty

Verbek is not a 1000m horse but he has actually been first past the post in a race, at Hawkesbury in May, but lost it on protest before finishing second in a Listed race in Brisbane.

“This gets us up and going. Initially, I wanted to head towards the Spring Champion Stakes with him,” Price said. “He looks very well but I’m certainly not going to over rate him until we see him develop in front of us.

“I can see him running well but he will get that 1000m gallop under his belt and we’ll be able to reassess where we are going.”

It’s noticeable that Verbek hasn’t had any official trials leading into his first-up run and Price, who co-trains with his son Luke, said that’s in part due to a lack of 1000m trials at the right time.

But he credits Luke with the idea to commence the campaign in Thursday’s race given there should be enough speed on for Verbek to find his feet without over-racing then it comes down to whether he can pick his five rivals up.

“He really shouldn’t be a maiden and shouldn’t have went to Queensland as a maiden. I’m pretty certain he won’t be a maiden for long,” he said. “We’ve put the blinkers on him, I’ve been dying to put them on him, so this is a good time to start him off.”

Stablemate Grand Palazzo resumes alongside Verbek and she’s another that Price says won’t remain a maiden for too long though suggests she’ll need a track upgrade or two to be most effective.

The four-year-old mare has been placed in two of her nine starts and has had an official trial at Kembla Grange on September 6.

Best bets

Race 3: (3) Different Strokes
Race 7: (10) Beep Test
Best value
Race 6: (6) Lukey Luke

Supplied by Racing NSW.
Full form and race replays available at racingnsw.com.au.

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