Heart Of Dreams is emerging as one of the best 2011 Underwood Stakes tips, trainer Mick Price convinced the Cox Plate hopeful can overcome their horror barrier draw and return to the winners stall at Caulfield on Saturday.
There are 15 gallopers engaged to face off in the weight-for-age $350,000 Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) this year, one of two races along with the $125,000 Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) on the Caulfield race card offering a ballot exemption for the 2011 Caulfield Cup to the winner.
All but two of the Underwood Stakes 2011 hopefuls are nominated for the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15.
One of the two wanting the Underwood win but not for the ballot exemption is Heart Of Dreams, the other being 2007 Melbourne Cup winner Efficient, Price aiming his gallant Show A Heart six-year-old for the 2011 Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 22.
Heart Of Dreams currently sits as the $6 third favourite in the Underwood Stakes odds at Luxbet, equal price with Grahame Rogerson’s top Kiwi mare Scarlett Lady, with markets lead by Lights Of Heaven ($4.40) and Glass Harmonium ($4.80).
Saturday will be Heart Of Dreams third time in an Underwood Stakes field, a race he tasted victory in two years ago.
While Heart Of Dreams was beaten five lengths when seventh behind the former Bart Cummings-trained weight-for-age hero So You Think in the Underwood last year, back in 2009 they beat a crack field including Whobegotyou and Predatory Pricer.
Heart Of Dreams went on to run seventh in the 2009 Cox Plate but Price hopes that with So You Think out of the picture this year his galloper can get their chance at Cox Plate glory.
“You have to have a look at what weight-for-age horses are around at the moment,” Price said.
“It’s pretty even and they’re taking it in turns this year. Is there a standout?”
First they must tackle the Underwood, Heart Of Dreams out to become the 12th multiple Underwood Stakes winner in history and just the third to do so in non-consecutive years joining Young Idea (1935 and 1937) and Lord (1958 & 1960).
“He’s alive in the Cox Plate, so I suppose if he wins the Underwood we’ll get a bit more confidence,” Price added.
Cox Plate betting at Luxbet currently has Heart Of Dreams paying a generous $41 with Whobegotyou at the top of the odds at a quote of $7.50.
Heart Of Dreams has strong record over 1800 metres with five starts for two wins, including the 2009 Underwood and the Group 2 St George Stakes back in February, and a second; and also has plenty of experience at his home track of Caulfield finishing worse than third on just two occasions form their 12 starts there.
Price is very happy with where Heart Of Dreams is fitness wise saying they had improvement in them from their brave first-up second, beaten in the final stride by King’s Rose in the Group 2 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 27.
“He’s had three weeks between runs, but I’ve done plenty of work with him,” Price said.
“You’ll see plenty of rib on him, that’s the sort of horse he is.
“He’s clean-winded and I don’t think fitness is an issue. I think he’s ready to go.”
While Price is happy with Heart Of Dreams going into Saturday, history suggests that second-up isn’t the best time to tackle the Underwood Stakes as So You Think last year was the first Underwood Stakes winner to salute second-up since Almaarad in 1989.
To view the 2011 Underwood Stakes odds and betting options, whether you want to bet on or bet against Heart Of Dreams, head to Luxbet where all new customers that join, deposit and quote the codeword BONUSBET are rewarded with a bonus bet valued up to $400!