By Glenn Davis
Exciting stayer Divine Unicorn showed he was a worthy spring carnival contender in Melbourne with a brilliant comeback victory at the Sunshine Coast on Saturday.
Trainer Matt Dunn has lofty plans to target the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in October with Divine Unicorn who claimed his fifth win in nine starts in the Maroochy Surf Club Open Handicap (1400m).
The five-year-old, ridden by Jim Byrne, had too much class over his rivals when he downed favourite Bergerac by a short neck.
Zumbelina ran home strongly for third.
Divine Unicorn was having his first start since winning the Group 2 Tattersall’s Cup (2200m) at Doomben in June but Dunn was confident of a strong first-up performance.
The Melbourne spring carnival could be the springboard to Divine Unicorn heading to Hong Kong for the Group 1 Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin on December 10.
“He came into this race really fresh and you could see that in the enclosure before the race,” Dunn said.
“He’s got a long way to go but it was a very encouraging start.
“He proved last preparation he can step up in distance quickly so he’ll go down to Melbourne now and run in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes over 1600 metres at Moonee Valley in two weeks.”
Dunn said Divine Unicorn’s main mission was the Caulfield Cup but he needed to win a qualifying race along the way.
“I suppose it’s an ambitious plan but who knows where this horse can end up,” Dunn said.
“The hope is the Caulfield Cup but to get into it he’ll need to win a race along the way.”
Divine Unicorn will run in the Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on September 22 and the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 6 in his bid to qualify for the Caulfield Cup.
Divine Unicorn was bred in Europe with the intention of racing in Hong Kong but his owner, who lives in Hong Kong, decided to campaign him in Australia first to help him acclimatise.
The son of Lope De Vega’s win continued his impressive first-up record and he has now won three times from four attempts.
Racing Queensland webnews August 25