Leviathan Australian owner secures smart filly
The curtain is likely to come down on Unusual Culture’s brief New Zealand career when she takes on a competitive age group line-up in the three-year-old feature at Otaki on Thursday.
Off the back of a lead-up trial placing, the Fraser Auret-trained filly overcame a slow start to score effortlessly when she made her debut on the course earlier this month.
That performance saw prominent owner Ozzie Kheir come calling and she will carry his colours in the Gr.3 Lucia Valentina Wellington Stakes (1600m).
“She has been sold and will start on Thursday under the new ownership, it is my understanding that she will do her future racing out of Melbourne,” Auret said.
“She is a gorgeous horse and there is a lot of depth in that field. You would certainly say that she is the new kid on the block and got a fair bit to learn, but I really do think she has a very bright future.”
Unusual Culture was bred and raced by Auret’s parents Nigel and Adaire, who also stand her sire Unusual Suspect at their Letham Stud operation on the outskirts of Wanganui.
The filly’s pedigree features the Auret family’s Gr.1 New Zealand Thoroughbred Stakes (1600m) winner Saint Cecile and her half-brother Mettre En Jeu, a stakes winner who ran second in the Gr.1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) and formerly stood at Letham.
Fraser Auret’s Marton stable will also chase black-type honours on Saturday when Marietta Lane and Uareastar go head-to-head in the Listed Steelform Roofing Group Wanganui Cup (2040m).
Marietta Lane was unplaced when opening her current campaign before finishing runner-up in the Listed Feilding Gold Cup (2100m).
“She is going really well and I thought it was a terrific run last time out. She is still obviously on the way up as that was only her second run and she’s come on really nicely again,” Auret said.
“She is lightly raced and she does hold nominations for the Wellington Cup (Gr.3, 3200m) and the Auckland Cup (Gr.2, 3200m) and, at this stage, the focus is certainly on getting her to the Wellington Cup.
“She’s been slow to strengthen and a late-starter, she’s only now a furnished horse and typical of some of the Zeds and does prefer good ground. She has copped a bit of weight (58.5kg), but her form probably warrants that.”
Also nominated for the Trentham and Ellerslie staying features is Uareastar, who will similarly go third-up into the Wanganui Cup off the back of an open handicap fourth over 1550m at Awapuni.
“I thought her last run was better than it looked, it was never going to suit her being back on the inside with her racing style,” Auret said.
“She will derive benefit from the fact that the other mare cops the weight and she’ll get in at 54kg. She is a very progressive type as well.”
Auret will also have three other lower grade representatives on the Wanganui undercard.
“We’ve got Exquisite Pearl going in the Rating 65 2040m (Loaders Wanganui) race and she trialled up really well last week and should go a good race,” he said.
“We’ve also got Trifolium and Little Wing in the Rating 65 (Sound Electrical) over 1340m and they’ve also both done well.”