Underwood Stakes 2011 Field & Barriers Favour Melbourne Cup Favourite

Melbourne racing this weekend at Caulfield is headlined by the 2011 Underwood Stakes, a star-studded field of 15 acceptors in the weight-for-age feature including the current Melbourne Cup 2011 favourite Shamrocker.

Shamrocker

Melbourne Cup favourite Shamrocker races second-up in the 2011 Underwood Stakes this Saturday

Danny O’Brien’s classy O’Reilly mare Shamrocker sits at the top of the odds for this year’s Melbourne Cup on Tuesday November 1 thanks to her dual classic wins in the Australian Guineas and AJC Derby as a three-year-old last season.

After resuming with a credible eighth over the unsuitably short Group 2 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 27, Shamrocker takes her next step towards the $6.2 million Melbourne Cup when she lines up in the $350,000 Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) this Saturday.

A big winner in the 2011 Underwood Stakes barrier draw, Shamrocker is due to be ridden by three-time Melbourne Cup winning hoop Glen Boss from barrier five of 15 this weekend.

Despite her record and ability, Shamrocker is far from her spring grand final and O’Brien expects her to race well on Saturday but won’t be backing her to win just yet until the distance is increased.

“She’s not a pick-up and spring mare, so unless the pace is really on, she’ll probably run the same sort of race she did first-up,” he said.

“She’s not suited to theses shorter weight-for-age races. She really needs 2400 metres and further.

“That said, I’m really happy with how her campaign has gone so far.

“She’s in great shape and she’s come on well since the Memsie.”

There are four other exciting mares among this year’s Underwood Stakes field with former Crown Oaks winner Brazilian Pulse (barrier eight), South Australian raider Southern Speed (barrier 13), the Peter Moody-trained Lights Of Heaven (barrier three) and Scarlett Lady (barrier seven).

Saturday will be the Victorian race debut of sensational Kiwi filly Scarlett Lady, another early favourite in the Melbourne Cup odds at Luxbet following her scintillating form at the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival.

Graeme and Debbie Rogerson’s Savabeel four-year-old claimed the Doomben Roses – Queensland Oaks double last season at her first two starts in Australia, the same double Shelia Laxon’s superstar Kiwi mare Ethereal won on way to her Caulfield Cup – Melbourne Cup success 11 years ago.

While there is no questioning the quality of the mares in the Underwood Stakes or their form against the boys, the race has been a poor one for female runners in recent years.

The last mare to win the Underwood Stakes was Tristarc back in 1985.

Headlining the male Underwood Stakes 2011 acceptors are the likes last year’s Melbourne Cup runner-up Maluckyday (barrier nine), Mick Price’s consistent six-year-old Heart Of Dreams suffering an early blow with an awkward barrier 14 draw, Michael Moroney’s star import Glass Harmonium, last year’s Victoria Derby winner Lion Tamer and the Robert Hickmott-trained duo of 2007 Melbourne Cup winner Efficient (barrier four) and Midas Touch (barrier two).

Zabeel eight-year-old Efficient will be having their first start in nearly two years, the great grey last seen winning the Turnbull Stakes in October 2009, while their promising stablemate Midas Touch comes off a game third to the since-retired Littorio in the Makybe Diva Stakes.

The complete 2011 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes acceptances, barriers, jockeys and weights can be found in the table below.

More comprehensive Underwood Stakes previews, betting updates and tips will be published right here at Races.com.au throughout the week so make sure you stay tuned.

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2011 Underwood Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw

# Form (Last 10) Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Wgt. Hcp. Rtg.
1 X57X0X591X EFFICIENT (NZ) Robert Hickmott Steven King 4 59kg 119
2 58X08580X0 MASTER O’REILLY (NZ) Judy Mawer Matthew Allen 1 59kg 103
3 7X721834X2 HEART OF DREAMS Mick Price Damien Oliver 14 59kg 115
4 1112X447X8 MALUCKYDAY (NZ) Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Dwayne Dunn 9 59kg 108
5 152220X003 MIDAS TOUCH (GB) Robert Hickmott Nicholas Hall 2 59kg 111
6 1318X025X6 PRECEDENCE (NZ) Bart Cummings Steven Arnold 10 59kg 109
7 X60X2312X2 GLASS HARMONIUM (IRE) Michael Moroney Ms Lisa Cropp 12 59kg 110
8 1X017521X4 LION TAMER (NZ) Murray Baker Michael Rodd 6 58kg 110
9 1X13322X24 PLAYING GOD Neville Parnham Steven Parnham 15 58kg 110
10 38521210X0 RIGHT OF REFUSAL Nigel Blackiston Michael Walker 11 58kg 89
11 02X41312X8 SHAMROCKER (NZ) Danny O’Brien Glen Boss 5 56kg 112
12 11X2138X00 BRAZILIAN PULSE (NZ) Michael Moroney Craig Newitt 8 56kg 105
13 4X111111X7 SCARLETT LADY (NZ) Graeme & Debbie Rogerson James McDonald (a) 7 56kg 104
14 1111X25 LIGHTS OF HEAVEN (NZ) Peter G Moody Ben Melham 3 56kg 105
15 111723X004 SOUTHERN SPEED Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas Danny Nikolic 13 56kg 92