Lightly-raced sprinter Unpretentious will make his Group 1 debut in the 2013 VRC Sprint Classic at Flemington on Saturday and trainer Nikki Burke is confident that the Schillaci Stakes winner is going into the race at peak fitness.
Unpretentious returned to the races after almost a year on the sidelines to win the Group 2 Schillaci Stakes (1000m) at Caulfield on October 12 and Burke told RSN that the Stratum gelding had come out of his first-up race in excellent condition.
Burke confirmed that the VRC Sprint Classic (formerly known as the Patinack Farm Classic) has always been the major 2013 Spring Racing Carnival goal for Unpretentious and said that everything had gone to plan heading into the his debut at the highest level of racing.
“He is great and everything has gone to plan,” Burke said.
“We have set him for one race and he is 100%; he is there as good as I can have him.
“It was probably six weeks before he trialed; we made a plan then and worked backwards from there.
“The horse has never been better.”
Craig Williams rode Unpretentious in all but one of his first ten career starts but missed out on the ride in the Schillaci Stakes due to suspension.
Melbourne Cup winning jockey Damien Oliver gave the five-year-old a gem of a ride in the Schillaci Stakes but Burke said that she and connections decided to stay loyal to Williams, who has always had a high opinion of the horse.
“It was pretty difficult, it was a good position to be in, but the loyalty was there,” Burke said.
“Craig has been with the horse since day one and he would have ridden him in the Schillaci but unfortunately he was suspended.
“Damien is riding on a high but at the end of the day it is Craig’s ride.”
Unpretentious has recorded one win from three starts, in the Listed MSS Security Sprint (1200m) on Melbourne Cup Day last year, down the famous Flemington straight and Burke said that straight racing is perfect for the Group 2 winner.
“It really suits him just as long as we can get some speed on,” Burke said.
“Sometimes those straight races can be dawdling in the first half and you just want a bit of speed there.
“He is a horse that really needs to build momentum and have an uninterrupted run.
“Drawn where he is drawn tomorrow that shouldn’t be a problem.”
Burke admits that Unpretentious is facing the biggest test in his racing career against the star-studded VRC Sprint Classic field but she is confident that her star galloper can perform on the big stage.
“He is a lightly-raced horse on the way up,” Burke said.
“They are all good Group 1 contenders and we are yet to prove ourselves but as I said we are lightly-raced and on the way up.”