Spring Cup Prospect Unusual Suspect Returns in Slickpick Stakes 2012

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

# Horse Trainer Ballot Weight Hcp. Rating
1 MOURAYAN (IRE) Robert Hickmott 1 60.5kg 108
2 UNUSUAL SUSPECT (USA) Michael Kent 2 59kg 105
3 TANBY Robert Hickmott 3 57.5kg 102
4 AVIENUS Mark Webb 4 55kg 101
5 DOMESKY Michael Kent 5 55kg 97
6 FOLDING GEAR (NZ) Lee & Shannon Hope 6 55kg 97
7 STREETS AWAY (NZ) Darren Weir 8 54.5kg 96
8 APRES Clinton McDonald 31 54kg 68
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
19 LADRAMAHS Shane Nichols 29 54kg 72
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
23 PACINO Clinton McDonald 26 54kg 78
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
27 SABRAGE Michael Moroney 9 54kg 94
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
32 UMATIC Shawn Mathrick 30 54kg 70