Verifier breaks through at Flemington

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Three-year-old gelding Verifier broke through for a well-deserved victory at Flemington on Saturday under .

The son of has been knocking on the door for trainer Nigel Blackiston, coming from the rear of the field under a perfectly-timed Robbie Downey ride to land the prize.

Despite his previous maiden status, Verifier had run well when beaten just over two lengths in the Group 3 Chairman's Stakes (2000m) in Adelaide and backed up that performance when fifth at Flemington last start.

“In the running, he got a little bit further back than we would have hoped and he got a bit clustered up as well, but you could see he was always travelling,” Blackiston said.

“He is a beautiful rider young Robbie Downey. He keeps them balanced and when he picks a horse up, he can really help them to the line. Thank goodness it opened up for him at the right time and he got the job done.

“It has been a great team effort. We have got a small team at Ballarat now and the people there work very hard, and I thank them all very much for their efforts. A special thanks to the ownership group as well.”

Blackiston said Verifier relishes the world-class training facilities at Ballarat.

“He has got open space there that reminds me a little bit of being back in Newmarket,” he said. “You can be a bit more relaxed with the horses and take your time with them.”

The gelding is now likely to be set for the $200,000 Mahogany Challenge Final (2500m) for three-year-olds back at Flemington on July 1.

“Obviously, he has been up a little while now, but if I can keep him , I think we will go straight to the final and just keep him ticking over,” Blackiston said.

The Stud-bred and sold Verifier was an $80,000 Melbourne Premier Yearling Sale purchase for Blackiston and is the first live foal of the mare Checkout.

She is a daughter of the Group 2 (1400m) winner Shopaholic, who has also left the stakes performers and Shop Til I Drop, while it is also the family of multiple Group One winner

Checkout has a yearling filly by Ocean Park and last season foaled a daughter of Super Seth and is back in foal to the -winning son of .

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