Three-year-old gelding Dunwoody called upon all his staying reserves as he lead from barrier to box under in-form rider Jordan Childs to land the Listed VRC St Leger (3000m) at Sandown on Saturday as the $61 outsider of the field.
Trainer Matt Cumani agreed the win in the $300,000 race came as something of a shock, but said he went into the race with a plan to be in front shortly after the start with the son of Preferment and hopefully still be there at the finish.
“It was of course a bit of surprise at those odds, but we came here with a plan to lead as Jordie (Childs) is a brilliant front-running rider,” Cumani said.
“He’s the sort of horse you’d want to go to war with. He would be your charger because he’s just big and strong and he just keeps going.”
Despite knowing he would stay a trip, Cumani said he originally wanted the St Leger, which was shifted from Anzac Day at Flemington, run at 2400m and not the 3000m it ultimately became.
“Funny enough, they (Racing Victoria) canvassed opinion as to what we wanted to do and we were keen to lead in this race, so I was actually a bit apprehensive going up to 3000m when it was switched to Sandown,” he said.
“I thought if we we’re going to make a bold move third-up that perhaps 2400m would be better, but it’s worked really well here today.”
Dunwoody looked likely to be collared inside the final 200m mark when challenged by the $2.90 favourite Midnight Glow, but rallied to fend off all challengers and score by three-quarters of a length from runner-up Highland Blaze, with Midnight Glow third.
Dunwoody is the first stakes winner for Brighthill Farm stallion Preferment. The four-time Group One winning son of Zabeel is also the sire of stakes performers Smirk and Tap Dancer.
Out of the four-time winning Street Cry mare Queen Ouija, Dunwoody was bred by Yulong Investment NZ Ltd, with the prominent breeding operation shareholders in young stallion Preferment.