The opening Group 1 race of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival is this Saturday’s 2012 Underwood Stakes, the final field and barrier draw for which has now been released.
Due to steal the spotlight at Caulfield as Race 7 at 3:40pm on Saturday, this year’s edition of the $400,000 Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) has drawn a crack field of 14 final acceptors.
Leading the smart Underwood Stakes field is the Peter Moody-trained Manighar drawn in barrier 10 with the stable’s leading jockey Luke Nolen in the saddle.
The star European import was the most impressive autumn stayer last season becoming the first horse in history to win the Australian Cup, Ranvet Stakes, The BMW triple in their first preparation with Moody.
They resumed at Flemington two weeks ago when crossing a short half-head away second to Southern Speed in the Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) and over the extra 200m on Saturday this Cox Plate-bound champion is the definite horse to beat.
Moody will also be represented in the Underwood Stakes 2012 field by another overseas import in Voila Ici who will be ridden by Vlad Duric from barrier nine.
The seven-year-old Daylami stallion has had just one start down under for Moody when sixth to Sincero in the Group 2 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at the start of the month at Caulfield, an effort Duric is confident they can improve on as they step up to a more suitable 1800m.
Along with Manighar the other big name Underwood Stakes hopeful this year is Makybe Diva Stakes winner Southern Speed.
The Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas-trained South Australian star had the fitness edge over Manighar last start as she came off two earlier runs at home in Adelaide.
The reigning Caulfield Cup winner will now be out to prove the Makybe win was no fluke when she jumps from barrier 11 with Craig Williams aboard on Saturday.
Two other last start winners along with Southern Speed will shoot for more glory in the Underwood with the Stephen Farley-trained Sincero (barrier 12) and Gary Hennessy’s New Zealand raider Ocean Park (barrier five).
Dual Group 1 winning Umatilla gelding Sincero caught the eye first up when they beat home subsequent Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes winner Happy Trails by an easy two lengths in the Group 2 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 1 while Thorn Park four-year-old Ocean Park scored a Group 1 victory back home in NZ’s Makfi Challenge Stakes over the 1400m on the same day.
While Sincero has work to do from barrier 12 on Saturday trainer Farley remains confident that his horse can overcome the gate and give the favourites a run for their money.
“It’s probably not the best draw but we’ve got it now so we’ll have to stick with it,” Farley said. “But it probably is a better barrier than one or two, that’s one good way of looking at it, but ideally somewhere between five and eight would have been nice.
“He’s come through (the Memsie) in great order, he’s very well the horse and I couldn’t be happier with him just at the moment.”
It is shaping as an intriguing edition of the Underwood Stakes and one that is sure to serve as a good guide for the upcoming Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival majors including the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate.
Just some of the more notable stayers heading towards either the Caulfield Cup or Cox Plate that will face off in the Underwood include John Sadler’s American import Winchester, 2012 Melbourne Cup runner-up Maluckyday who is again on the spring cups path, last year’s beaten Caulfield Cup favourite December Draw and the Hawkes-trained Niwot who was the best finishing of the Australian-trained horses when eighth in last year’s Melbourne Cup – just to name a few.
See below for the complete 2012 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes field, barriers, jockeys and weights.
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2012 Underwood Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Caulfield Race 7 – 3:40pm – 22/09/2012
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x1311123x2||MANIGHAR (FR)||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||10||59kg||116|
|2||2140x2153x||WINCHESTER (USA)||John Sadler||Jamie Mott||7||59kg||111|
|3||8597x454x1||SINCERO||Stephen Farley||Michael Walker||12||59kg||114|
|4||1321x343x6||VOILA ICI (IRE)||Peter G Moody||Vlad Duric||9||59kg||110|
|5||12x447x8x8||MALUCKYDAY (NZ)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||2||59kg||108|
|6||18x55441x0||NIWOT||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dean Holland||14||59kg||108|
|7||70x321230x||DRUNKEN SAILOR (IRE)||Michael Moroney||Damien Oliver||3||59kg||108|
|8||11x21110x8||DECEMBER DRAW (IRE)||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||13||59kg||112|
|9||4x5x1313x0||MAWINGO (GER)||Anthony Freedman||Ben Melham||8||59kg||109|
|10||x71411x6x0||SANAGAS (GER)||Bart Cummings||Brad Rawiller||1||59kg||108|
|11||30x42870x0||ILLO (GER)||Bart Cummings||Steven Arnold||6||59kg||103|
|12||x6415116x9||ZABEELIONAIRE (NZ)||Leon Corstens||Craig Newitt||4||58kg||101|
|13||1121282×1||OCEAN PARK (NZ)||Gary Hennessy||Glen Boss||5||58kg||106|
|14||125255×311||SOUTHERN SPEED||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Craig Williams||11||57kg||115|