Jockey Craig Williams believes that Unpretentious is an excellent chance of breaking through for his maiden Group 1 victory in the 2014 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Unpretentious returned to the races with a fast-finishing fifth behind Snitzerland in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 15 and drops in weight from 58.5 kilograms to 53 kilograms for the Newmarket Handicap.
Williams told TVN that he was happy with the performance of Unpretentious in the Black Caviar Lightning Stakes and feels that the son of Stratum has gotten into the race very well in the weights.
“The handicap suits him,” Williams said.
“He’s a great chance in a competitive race, especially on the weight.
“He ran really well in the Lightning; he came off the bridle at the 800 metres, but was closing really strongly at the finish.”
Unpretentious has been restricted to just 13 race starts due to a number of injury issues, but Williams has remained loyal to the five-year-old throughout his racing career.
Williams partnered Unpretentious when he made his racing debut with an impressive win in the in the Iplex Pipelines Handicap (1100m) at Sale on August 21 in 2011 and was the regular rider for the tough sprinter during his 2012 Autumn Racing Carnival campaign, which included fair performances in the Listed Zeditave Stakes (1200m), Group 2 Autumn Stakes (1400m) and Listed MSS Security Stakes (1100m).
The leading Victorian jockey scored his second victory on Unpretentious when the pair combined to win a handicap event at Ballarat by a most impressive six lengths during the 2012 Spring Racing Carnival and the Nicki Burke-trained gelding scored his maiden black type win in the Listed MSS Security Sprint (1200m).
Unpretentious was kept out of racing for almost twelve months with injury and it was Damien Oliver who rode the Newmarket Handicap contender when he returned to racing with a narrow win in the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on October 12 last year.
Williams was back on board Unpretentious for the Group 1 VRC Sprint Classic and is keen to continue his association with the Cranbourne-based galloper.
“I’ve always had a lot of faith in this horse’s ability,” Williams said.
“He’s been prone to a lot of issues and Nikki has done a great job managing them.”
Unpretentious is currently available at 2014 Newmarket Handicap odds of $16; with Shamexpress ($4.60) currently a narrow favourite from Samaready ($4.80) and Lankan Rupee ($5).