Draw no concern for Unusual Culture
Unusual Culture has continued her consistent form with a strong win at Flemington
The Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Unusual Culture has earned herself a shot at a Stakes race with her win at Flemington.
Victory in the David Bourke Handicap (1620m) at Flemington on Saturday was the final heat of the VRC-CRV Winter Championship with the final, at Listed level, run over 1600m at Flemington on July 1.
Providing Carleen Hefel with the second leg of a winning double, Unusual Culture ($6) scored a three-quarter length win from the $3 favourite Brayden Star with Beehunter ($21) a further 2-½ lengths away third.
With Maher and Eustace in the UK ahead of Coolangatta tackling the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday, assistant trainer Jack Turnbull said the operation had been concerned with the tricky draw on Saturday.
But Turnbull was full of praise for the way Hefel handled the occasion.
"She gave him an absolute pearler," Turnbull said of Hefel's ride.
"She followed Mick Price's and Michael Kent Jnr's horse (French Emperor) into the race for as long as she could.
"She (Unusual Culture) has a nice turn of foot when saved and she showed that today.
"I'll have a discussion with Ciaron and David and (racing manager) Reece (Murph), but naturally it (the Final) looks a good race if she comes through this in good order."
Unusual Culture spent a lot of her early days at Ballarat before transferring the Cranbourne stable.
Turnbull was unsure how far Unusual Culture will progress following the Winter Championship Final.
"We're at an awkward time now to have a spell," Turnbull said.
"If we felt there was a race she could target in the spring, she could have a little breather and keep her in work, but not under saddle.
"That way we could get her through to the doorsteps of spring."
Hefel who scored earlier in the day aboard Sigh in the 2023 Country Achiever Wayne Nichols, said like Turnbull she was concerned at how the race would pan out.
"From that gate it could go horribly wrong, or it could go perfect, and luckily everything worked out just how we wanted it," Hefel said.
"She's a lovely mare and today was probably the best she has felt for me."