Michael Kent’s veteran American import Unusual Suspect finally broke a two year losing streak with a narrow victory in Sunday’s Werribee Cup 2012, a staying performance that could see them head across the Tasman targeting some of New Zealand’s longer distanced features before retirement.
The eight-year-old Unusual Heat stallion hadn’t won a race since their Grade 1 Hollywood Turf Cup victory when prepared in the USA back in November of 2010.
They joined Kent’s Cranbourne operation in Australia last year where they had four runs during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival including a sixth in the Caulfield Cup and credible ninth when beaten four lengths in the Melbourne Cup.
An ambitious international campaign in Dubai was to follow where they had four unplaced runs beaten by big margins each time.
Returning for this year’s spring season Unusual Suspect again failed to impress finishing well back in their first five runs back including a distant 21st when beaten 12 lengths by winner Green Moon in the Melbourne Cup.
They did however show nice improvement over the two miles one run later when a good third to the then Luca Cumani-trained raider Ibicenco in the Sandown Cup (3200m) in November.
A month later and they were in the winners’ stall holding on in a devastatingly close finish to defeat recent Ballarat Cup winner King Diamond by a mere short half-head in the Listed Werribee Cup (2600m) when carrying a hefty 60.5kg – Brad Rawiller in the saddle.
“This is probably the first race I’ve run him in where he’s had a realistic chance,” Kent said.
“We took him to Dubai and it was disastrous as he was quarantined by himself.
“His runs in both the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups last year were really good, he ran in the Moonee Valley Cup this year and was terribly in under the set weights and penalties and ran really well and he ran well at Sandown.”
I’m Jake finished off the Werribee Cup trifecta the same distance away in a photo finish for the minor placings.
Lucky Angel crossed fourth a further length off the top three while the $1.75 favourite Pelicano, ridden by Glen Boss, could only manage to finish fifth ahead of the $71 roughie and early leader Niptious who rounded out the field nearly six lengths off the winner.
Rawiller was also thrilled with the victory saying it was a well-deserved result for both the horse and trainer.
“It’s just such a great pleasure to be winning on this horse,” Rawiller said.
“For a long time he’s been threatening to win, he ran terrific in last year’s Caulfield and Melbourne Cups and to win the Werribee Cup is just deserved for Mick Kent.”
Kent hinted at a trip to New Zealand for the winning warhorse following their Werribbe success for the Auckland and Wellington Cups early next year, chances high that Unusual Suspect will run their last race over there where a possible stud deal in NZ could be on the cards.
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2012 Werribee Cup Results & Finishing Order
Werribee Race 7 – 16/12/2012
|1||1||UNUSUAL SUSPECT (USA)||Michael Kent||Brad Rawiller||–||4||60.5kg||$11|
|2||2||KING DIAMOND||Jarrod McLean||Steven Arnold||0.1L||2||58kg||$6|
|3||3||I’M JAKE (NZ)||David Brideoake & David Feek||Dean Yendall||0.2L||1||55kg||$5.50|
|4||6||LUCKY ANGEL||Tony Vasil||Chad Schofield (a)||1.2L||6||54kg||$9|
|5||4||PELICANO||Tony McEvoy||Glen Boss||1.7L||3||54.5kg||$1.75F|
|6||7||NIPTIOUS||Danny Curran||Ms Carryn Downie (a)||5.45L||5||54kg||$71|