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Khalifa the target at Caulfield
Robert Grant
17:28 AEST Wed Jan 2 2013

Trainer Clinton McDonald will target Mark Kavanagh's standout performer Khalifa with the well-performed Finishing Card at Caulfield on Saturday.

"Whatever beats Khalifa wins," McDonald said.

Khalifa will take sizzling form into the fifth heat of the Swettenham Stud Summer Championship (1400m). From just five starts he has notched three wins, a second and a third.

But McDonald has Finishing Card racing impressively this preparation after the six-year-old was given time to recover from a minor injury.

The gelding resumed with a third at Warrnambool then won two races at Caulfield in December.

McDonald said he was delighted with Finishing Card's form following the enforced spell.

"He was a model of consistency before in his last prep but he came back and just wasn't right," McDonald said.

"He had a little injury there and needed a bit of time. That's why his form was probably a little bit ordinary the last time around.

"He gave his near-side leg a little twang, nothing major."

Apart from being in peak condition, Finishing Card was developing quickly in key areas, he said.

"He has come back well. He's always shown nice promise but he's just been a slow maturing type.

"He's always been a little bit weak but this time around he's got a lot more confidence and he's a lot stronger mentally and physically and it's showing in his racing," he said.

McDonald will be also be represented in the sixth heat of the summer series by five-year-old gelding Bigelow who is out to try to regain winning form over the 1600 metres.

Bigelow won three races in his first campaign in late 2010 but has struggled since with just one victory in 11 subsequent starts.

He has returned to McDonald after a four-start stint with Shea Eden and his trainer admits he is looking for answers.

"He definitely is struggling a bit," McDonald said. "Probably, we're trying to find the key to him to get him to click somewhere, so we hope we can do something on Saturday.

"He's worked really well the last couple of gallops and we're pleased with the horse coming into the race. It's just a matter of him putting his hand up and doing a good job for us."


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