The 2400m of the 2018 Group 1 $5m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup at Caulfield on Saturday is perfect for the Ed Dunlop trained English stayer Red Verdon.
Four of Red Verdon’s five wins have been over or around the 2400m mark and Hong Kong’s premiership winning jockey Zac Purton is excited to be flying into Melbourne to partner the six year old in the Caulfield Cup.
“He’s good at the distance, he’s a very consistent horse, he can run on all types of ground,” Purton told racing.com
Purton knows what it takes to win the Caulfield Cup after collecting the trophy on Japanese stayer Admire Rakti in 2014 but admits that he will have to see how the race pans out in the run down the straight the first time to see where he settles Red Vernon in the eighteen horse field.
Red Verdon will jump from barrier eight if both the emergencies fail to gain a start and with the blinkers on for the first time, Purton could find himself in the first half of the field going out of the straight at the 2000m mark.
It’s hard to say where he’s going to be in the run on the weekend, because in some races in the UK he’s raced handy in slowly run races, and other times he got quite far back in the field, so it’s difficult to say where he’ll be,” Purton said.
“He’s a bit versatile in his racing manner – it’s just going to depend on the speed of the race and how it unfolds.”
Purton said that he would have no trouble riding Red Verdon at his allocated Caulfield Cup weight of 54kg, the same weight that the handicapper has given him in the Group 1 $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 6 but a win on Saturday could see the English stayer hit with a weight penalty for ‘The Race That Stops A Nation’ on the first Tuesday in November.
“My weight’s been pretty good. I came back probably a little bit heavier than what I have the last couple of off-seasons, this season,” Purton said.
“But I worked very hard to get my weight down, I changed a couple of little things with my diet, and it seems to have worked.
“The weight’s come off me, I feel fit, I feel good, I’m riding the same weight tomorrow night (at Happy Valley), so it’s just a matter of maintaining that into Saturday.”
Red Verdon will be having his first start since finishing fifth in the Group 2 £225,000 Lonsdale Cup Stakes (3319m) at York in England on August 24 while his last win was in the £19,000 Conditions Stakes (2400m) at Lingfield in England on February 14.
Pre-post betting for the 2018 Caulfield Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au has Red Verdon marked at $21 while the Darren Weir trained Kings Will Dream is the firming $5 favourite ahead of Chris Waller’s mare Youngstar at $6.