Run for the first time at Mornington, the $100,000 Listed Swettenham Stud Lord Stakes (1600m) was a local victory with the Pat Carey-trained Ulundi ($10) taking out today's feature event.
Ulundi, a son of 2002 Victoria Derby winner Helenus had a beautiful run in the race which was dominated early by tearaway leader, former American galloper and now stable mate of the winner, Cannonball.
Handled beautifully by talented apprentice Damien Lane who only had one ride for the day, Ulundi worked into the race strongly approaching the home turn and Lane steered him back to the rail through a narrow opening upon straightening to come away with an impressive 1 ¼ length victory.
The win was a maiden black-type victory for the former Perth-based apprentice and also completed a 100% strike-rate on the horse having now won twice from only two race rides.
“He's a horse that keeps on improving. I've won on him at Flemington before and he gave me an even better feel today,” Lane said
“He's probably the sort of horse that will improve the more he matures.”
“He drew an ideal gate (3), he jumped well and put himself into spot,” Lane added
“He travelled comfortably the whole race and from the 4 or 5 hundred, we got the breaks we needed and around the corner we got the split that we needed and he was good enough to sprint away from them in that last furlong.”
There are no lofty ambitions set for Ulundi in the immediate term with Carey indicating it was nice to finally win a good race with the four-year-old.
“He's had a few cracks at some good races and run encouragingly,” Carey said.
“We'll just poke along with him, it's taken a while to get him to this point and he's a gelding so there is plenty of opportunities for him.”
Ulundi's last run was in the Ballarat Cup on 20 November where he finished 7th, just over four lengths astern of the winner Domesky and Carey said that while he thought he was well beaten on that day, he also thought he was in good order for today.
Ulundi defeated La Rocket ($15) and Our Spirits Bay ($9) after both horses settled second and third for the majority of the race behind Cannonball and fought on well to fill the minor placings