Well-travelled veteran Unusual Suspect is back in Australia after an international campaign in Dubai, their Cranbourne-based trainer Michael Kent having nominated them to run first-up in the 2012 Slickpick Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
The American-bred nine-year-old Unusual Heat stallion, winner of the Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup in 2010 when under the preparation of original trainer Barry Abrams, joined Kent’s operation midway through 2011.
They caught the eye on their debut down under when a good fourth to subsequent Cox Plate third placegetter Rekindled Interest in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley last September.
They failed to win again during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival however but were far from disgraced in their two major assignments.
After a disappointing 10th in the Cranbourne Cup Unusual Suspect finished three and a half lengths away sixth to Southern Speed in the $2.65 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) and then ran a credible ninth when crossing four lengths off the narrow winner Dunaden in the ‘race that stops a nation’ – the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Following the spring Unusual Suspect was sent over to Dubai where they raced on four occasions, but they failed to finish better than sixth in any of those runs.
Having been back in Australia since the winter, Unusual Suspect trialed at Cranbourne on August 14 over 1190m and is set to resume racing in the $120,000 Listed Slickpick Stakes (1700m) this weekend.
It will be a tough first-up run for them as they face a field full of other spring cup hopefuls, Unusual Suspect on the Caulfield Cup – Melbourne Cup path once again.
They are however a long priced roughie in the futures markets for the handicap features paying $41 to win the Caulfield Cup and an even longer $101 in the Melbourne Cup odds at bookmaker.com.au.
Unusual Suspect has been allocated the 59kg second topweight of the 2012 Slickpick Stakes nominees, Robert Hickmott’s proven stayer Mourayan heading the weights with 60.5kg.
Other notable early entries include Mourayan’s stablemate Tanby (57.5kg) who ran second to consequent Melbourne Cup winner Duanden in last year’s Geelong Cup, the Mark Webb-trained Avienus (55kg), Kent’s other hopeful Domesky (55kg), Australian Derby runner-up Sabrage (54kg) and Peter Moody’s imported French mare Never Forget.
Whether it is a resuming spring hopeful this weekend or a spring star for one of the season’s big races, you will get the guaranteed best odds online at bookmaker.com.au.
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2012 Slickpick Stakes Weights & Ballot
Caulfield – 01/09/2012
|1||MOURAYAN (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||1||60.5kg||108|
|2||UNUSUAL SUSPECT (USA)||Michael Kent||2||59kg||105|
|6||FOLDING GEAR (NZ)||Lee & Shannon Hope||6||55kg||97|
|7||STREETS AWAY (NZ)||Darren Weir||8||54.5kg||96|
|9||BANCA MO||David & Scott Brunton||10||54kg||92|
|10||CALLANISH (NZ)||Mick Price||21||54kg||80|
|11||COMMANDING TIME||Brendan McCarthy||25||54kg||78|
|12||CUBAN SUNDAY||Pat Carey||22||54kg||80|
|13||EBONY ROCK||Stephen Theodore||19||54kg||82|
|14||FORTY THIRTY||Clinton McDonald||16||54kg||87|
|15||FRUEHLING (IRE)||Anthony Freedman||20||54kg||82|
|16||GALILEO GOLD (NZ)||Doug Harrison||17||54kg||87|
|17||GREAT PLAYER||Grant Craven||15||54kg||88|
|18||GUNS AT FIVE (NZ)||Peter G Moody||14||54kg||89|
|20||MISS WITH ATTITUDE||Mick Price||18||54kg||85|
|21||MR O’CEIRIN (NZ)||Ciaron Maher||12||54kg||90|
|22||NEVER FORGET (FR)||Peter G Moody||7||54kg||97|
|24||PRUSSIAN STORM||Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra||27||54kg||77|
|25||RED EYE SPECIAL (NZ)||Michael Moroney||23||54kg||80|
|26||REMEMBA HOWE (NZ)||Mick Price||13||54kg||89|
|28||SCELTO (NZ)||Robbie Laing||32||54kg||64|
|29||SEAN BAILE MOR||Todd Balfour||24||54kg||78|
|30||STOLE (NZ)||Brian Jenkins||11||54kg||91|
|31||SYSMO (FR)||Tony McEvoy||28||54kg||72|