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.
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.
For the hottest odds on every spring showdown including the Underwood, make sure you bet with the best – Luxbet.
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|