One of the most important races on the Underwood Stakes Day card at Caulfield Racecourse this Saturday is the 2011 Naturalism Stakes featuring a field packed full of Caulfield and Melbourne Cup hopefuls and with only two of the 18 acceptors at single-figure odds, the race is shaping up as one of value for racing fans and punters.
The $125,000 Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) is one of two races at the meeting, along with the $350,000 Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m), offering the winner a ballot exemption for the 2011 Caulfield Cup next month.
The Naturalism Stakes winner will also fully qualify for the richest race held in Australia, the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) held at Flemington on Tuesday November 1.
A capacity field of 16 starters plus two emergencies are currently engaged to fight it out in the Naturalism Stakes this year, the feature to run as Caulfield Race 8 at 4:20pm (local).
Only two Naturalism Stakes hopefuls are at under double-figures to win:
December Draw has everything to race for on Saturday, Mark Kavanagh’s in-form import the current second favourite in the Luxbet Melbourne Cup odds despite being yet to qualify for a spring Cups start.
These are short odds on a horse that has had just four starts in Australia, but the form does speak for itself.
December Draw has had three wins, all at Flemington, since their Aussie race debut back in May including the last-start success where they beat subsequent Newcastle Gold Cup winner Green Moon by three and a half lengths over 2000 metres on September 3.
Michael Rodd is set to ride December Draw in the Naturalism Stakes from gate one on Saturday, the hoop excited to get back aboard the stayer.
“Yes he does excite me,” Rodd said of December Draw.
“We’ve got to get him into the Caulfield Cup and he gets in with 54kg on Saturday so he’s going to be pretty hard to beat.”
History is against December Draw as the Naturalism Stakes betting favourite, however, as the since-retired Zipping was the last favourite to win back in 2006.
Zipping (58kg) was also the last Naturalism Stakes winner to carry more than 55kg to victory in the feature meaning on Saturday Harris Tweed (58kg), Herculian Prince (56.5kg), At First Sight (56kg) and Once Were Wild (55.5kg) all have their work cut out for them weight-wise.
While the Naturalism Stakes form and facts favour December Draw and make the odds-on favourite hard to bet against here, there is still plenty of other contenders at juicy prices to add into your exotic bets at Luxbet.
Naturalism Stakes 2011 Form Facts to consider when placing your bets:
- #2 Herculian Prince, Gai Waterhouse’s The Metropolitan winner from last spring, boasts one of the best Win Rates of the field with 40.91%
- Last year’s Naturalism Stakes winner Rainbow Styling jumped from barrier two, this year #16 I’m Jake ($21 Luxbet) is in gate 2
One of the most interesting longer-priced Naturalism Stakes horses is Black And Bent.
Out wide in barrier 17, Robert Smerdon’s Black And Bent is one of the country’s best jumps horse having won the Grand National Hurdle – JJ Houlahan Hurdle double at their last two starts.
They have also won seven of their 24 flat race starts over their career, most recently including the $1520,000 Banjo Paterson Series Final (2600m) at Flemington in July, but they need to win on Saturday to pass the first ballot clause for the Caulfield and Melbourne Cups.
The Naturalism Stakes is short of what Black And Bent needs, the horse a genuine stayer, but they are well weighted with just 54kg, a huge drop from the 69kg they have carried at their two most recent runs making them a nice roughie to add into your Trifecta and First Four bets.
View the full Naturalism Stakes field and odds at Luxbet now and get in on the spring racing action.