There does not appear to be a great deal of early speed in the 2014 William Reid Stakes field and trainer Nikki Burke is hoping that talented sprinter Unpretentious will be able to take a forward position in the Group 1 event at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Unpretentious was settled at the tail of the field in the Group 1 Black Caviar Lightning Stakes (1000m) at Flemington on February 15 and worked home strongly to finish fifth before finishing ninth in the Group 1 Newmarket Handicap (1200m) at the same venue on March 8 after being slow out of the gates.
Burke told RSN that she will be instructing jockey Brad Rawiller to take up a forward position on Unpretentious from barrier three in the William Reid Stakes on Friday, but admits that she does not want to dull the strong finishing kick of the Stratum gelding.
“I reckon he could be a little bit closer,” Burke said.
“I will have a chat to Brad about the horse; he has never seen him before or ridden him.
“I would like to use the gate, but we can’t really have out of his comfort zone.”
Unpretentious pulled up poorly following the Newmarket Handicap just under a fortnight ago, but according to Burke has bounced back well from the tough run in the past week.
Burke said that she has done very little work with the five-year-old since his second-up run and has deliberately kept the Group 2 winner as fresh as possible ahead of the 2014 William Reid Stakes.
“He has freshened up alright from his run the other day,” Burke said.
“He is nice and sound because he wasn’t when he came home from Flemington; he was quiet jarred up.
“He seems to have bounced back ok.
“He is happy and nice and fresh.”
Unpretentious will be making his racing debut at Moonee Valley, but Burke does not believe the tough gelding will have any problems and is hoping that the tight-turning track may suit her star galloper.
“He doesn’t seem to have any trouble around Caulfield or Rosehill,” Burke said.
“It might suit him.”
Unpretentious is currently available at 2014 William Reid Stakes odds of $13; with two-time Group 1 winner Samaready ($4) a narrow favourite from Danny O’Brien-trained Shamexpress ($5), the well-backed Thump ($5.50) and talented filly Gregers ($5.50).