Underwood Stakes 2013 Target for Price’s Winning Import

The OTI-owned German import Pakal made the right impression in their maiden run of what looks to be a very promising Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign on the weekend with a massive six length win at Caulfield’s PB Lawrence Stakes Day meeting.

The Lord Of England gelding debuted down under for their new trainer Mick Price back in May running a credible fifth to Strawberry Boy in a mile handicap at Caulfield.

It was a very similar race for their second effort here on Saturday with apprentice hoop Patrick Moloney riding the five-year-old in the $80,000 Legacy 2013 Badge Appeal Handicap (1600m).

This time however they thrived with 57kg’s, down from 60kg thanks to Moloney’s weight claim, and were able to beat home the Leon Corstens-trained Alpha Proxima by a full six lengths.

In a close third just a nose further back was then Brian’s Honour for Team Hawkes.

Price knew he had a nice import on his hands when Pakal first came to his stables at the start of the year but was still surprised with the ease by which they won on Saturday.

“It did surprise me a bit but sometimes these horses are hard to read and you can only try and keep them safe and sound in training then race day tells you where they’re really at,” Price told Racing Victoria.

“You can only measure them by what they do on a race day and he looked really good.”

Also pleased with the effort was OTI Director Simon O’Donnell.

“I think it surprised all of us. It was a competitive race and to do what he did in the last 400-metres was great,” O’Donnel said.

“He had a little more zip than the type of horse we’ve usually gone for and I think it’d be silly not to think that there was an influence with the German horses already here and seeing how well they’ve done when they’ve come over here.”

During their time in Germany they had 13 starts for just two wins, the most notable of which was the Group 3 Bavarian Classic 2012 (2011m) in May last year.

They could be in line for a much bigger prize during their latest campaign in Australia however with Price saying their next start would be a black type.

He named the $120,000 Listed Heatherlie Handicap (1700m) Saturday week, August 31, for their second-up run.

Their performance there will then determine whether they press onto a shot at the $400,000 Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m), also held at Caulfield, on September 21.

“We’ll stick with the original plan and head to the Heatherlie Handicap, see what happens from there but likely then on to the Underwood Stakes three weeks later,” Price said.

Price also took no chances earlier in the year and nominated Pakal for both the $2.5 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2040m) on October 19 and the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) on October 26.

Of those the 2013 Caulfield Cup is the more likely target, Pakal firming into a $21 chance to win the world’s richest mile and a half handicap after their big weekend win.

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