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Three placings at stakes level in his first three starts had connections of Jabali thinking they had found themselves a quality horse.

But it took the son of Exceed And Excel until start number 14 to break his maiden.

Now he has found winning form connections are hoping the four-year-old can go on with the job, starting in Saturday’s Group Two Bobbie Lewis Quality (1200m) at Flemington.

Jabali began his career with a placing in the 2013 Maribyrnong Trial, returning the following autumn for four starts highlighted by a second to Earthquake in the Blue Diamond Stakes.

Big things were expected of the Mick Price-trained galloper when he reappeared last spring but after two runs he was again turned out.

When he returned earlier this year, Jabali was taken to provincial Saturday maiden grade in the hope of boosting his confidence with an easy kill but the horse was twice beaten into second place as a short-priced favourite.

Price took Jabali to Brisbane for a winter campaign and the horse finally broke his maiden status in the Group Two Queensland Guineas.

On Saturday Jabali takes on the likes of William Reid Stakes winner Lucky Hussler, former Hong Kong galloper Sterling City and Group One placegetters Rich Enuff and Under The Louvre over the straight 1200m course.

Price is hoping jockey Craig Newitt can find some cover but admits Jabali’s outside draw makes that task more difficult.

“He’s a colt and if he doesn’t get cover he can get a bit excited,” Price said.

“It will be nice for him to get cover and finish off, rather than pull.

“The straight can be difficult to get cover if they jump as good as he jumps, so that has me concerned.”

Price has the Caulfield Group One handicaps of the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) on September 26 and the Toorak Handicap (1600m) on October 10 in mind after Saturday’s assignment.

Price has previously won the Toorak Handicap with Red Dazzler (2006) and Alamosa (2008).

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