Deserved win for Unusual Suspect
Dec 17, 2012
It was in September last year that handsome entire Unusual Suspect made his Australian debut - running an eye-catching fourth in Rekindled Interest's Feehan Stakes at Moonee Valley.
It was the sort of run that suggested the American import would prove competitive in which ever races he contested in Australia but a run of bad luck saw the big black horse stay a local maiden until a barnstorming and well deserved victory in Sunday's Listed Werribee Cup.
Settling last in the field of six - shouldering topweight of 60.5kg, the nine-year-old was always travelling well for Brad Rawiller whose ride was a particularly cool one.
Still last at the top of the straight, Unusual Suspect was given time to find his feet and over the final furlong really stretched out - nabbing Ballarat Cup winner King Diamond on the line to win by the barest of margins.
But win he diid - much to the joy of his owners Peter Lord, Stephen Rose, the Baltimore Racing Syndicate, Brian Oakley, the Ewart-Johnstone Winning Edge Syndicate, Barry Abrams, the Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock Davidson Syndicate, Bruce Bannister, Linda Huddy and Ian Hicks.
Rawiller was also thrilled.
"It is such a great pleasure to win on this horse," he said.
"He has been up a long time always threatening to win. His Sandown Cup run was fantastic and he really deserved this one."
Asked when he felt confident of victory, Rawiller cheekily replied "after we'd gone about 400m!"
"We got a lovely flowing run," he said, "and he got into a great rhythm."
Michael Kent, who also trained last year's Werribee Cup winner Montahlia - and who is known as a Country Cups specialist - was both relieved and pleased.
"That was the first race I've run him in where he has been a realistic chance," he said.
"His Caulfield and Melbourne Cup runs last year were terrific and he ran really well in the Moonee Valley Cup this year."
A trip to Dubai, he added "was a disaster as he was all by himself in quarantine," whilst this year's Melbourne Cup was not run to suit -"he got back and they walked."
Whilst bred in America, Unusual Suspect hails from a southern hemisphere family - his dam Penpont - who won in the United States - bred in New Zealand.
A daughter of Crested Wave, she has produced six other winners by Unusual Heat (a three times Listed winning son of Nureyev) - including the Gr.1 Santa Anita Las Virgenes Stakes victor Golden Doc A and the stakes placed Rushen Heat.
Penpont is a half sister to winners at metropolitan winner in Australia and New Zealand - Prince Poser and Monte Bay - whilst her dam Imposing Star (a winner in Sydney) is a daughter of the NZ Group One winner Black Willow - also dam of the dual stakes winner English Charm and grandam of the Listed winner Joseph.
High class in the United States, Unusual Suspect won nine races including the Group One Hollywood Turf Cup, the Group 3 Hollywood Turf Express Handicap and four Listed events.