A star-studded field of 14 stayers has been accepted for the weekend’s flagship race with a plethora of Group 1 winners to face off in Caulfield’s 2013 Underwood Stakes.
Bringing proceedings to a close as Race 9 at 4:55pm (AEST) on Saturday, this year’s $400,000 Group 1 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) is shaping up as one of the best editions of the Cox Plate lead-up in many years.
One of the major headliners is the Mark Kavanagh-trained Atlantic Jewel out to retain her undefeated status as she races on a short seven day back-up.
Dominant $2.50 favourite in the futures markets for the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley in October, the triple Group 1 winning daughter of Fastnet Rock backed up from a first-up Memsie Stakes success to thrash her rivals in the Group 2 Stocks Stakes (1600m) last weekend.
She was at a Black Caviar-esque price of $1.06 for that run and is likely to be towards the top of the Underwood Stakes odds too after drawing nicely mid field in barrier seven with Michael Rodd staying on.
It will be far from the walk in the park she enjoyed last weekend however with some seriously dangerous rivals in the mix here.
One of those and the only other last start winner is the Chris Waller-trained Foreteller in barrier 11.
A veteran Dansili seven-year-old, Foreteller improved on a resuming eighth in the Warwick Stakes to score their second Group 1 trophy at Flemington on September 7 defeating current Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune in the Makybe Diva Stakes over the mile.
Makybe Diva Stakes runner-up Puissance De Lune also backs up in the Underwood with jockey Glen Boss confident he can get them home first this time when they jump from barrier 14.
Trainer Darren Weir is also looking forward to Puissance De Lune’s Underwood run, pleased with their recent form and their progress since.
“He is a bull and he will benefit greatly from the Makybe Diva run,” he told the Herald Sun this week.
“He is in great order and is enjoying his time at Warrnambool. He loves Warrnambool, which is far more relaxed than my stables (in Ballarat).
“You never change anything that works, and preparing for a race at Warrnambool works for him. He does a lot of pushing through the water at the beach and he’ll have a gallop during the week.”
Following Atlantic Jewel in futures Cox Plate betting meanwhile is Murray Baker’s four-time Group 1 winning Kiwi raider It’s A Dundeel ($8) who gets their chance to shorten in those markets racing second-up in the Underwood.
The High Chaparral four-year-old returned when fourth to Atlantic Jewel in the Memsie and will be out to turn the tables here.
Other notable 2013 Cox Plate chances running in the Underwood Stakes on the weekend then include the Lloyd Williams-owned stablemates Green Moon and Sea Moon.
Brett Prebble’s mount Green Moon is the reigning Melbourne Cup champion having won the ‘race that stops a nation’ last spring.
Since then the Montjeu stallion has failed to win a race but has been far from disgraced in Group 1 company including their Memsie Stakes fifth over the 1400m – the jump up to 1800m to suit.
Sea Moon meanwhile is already the $10 third favourite in the early markets for the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) on November 5 despite having had just the one run down under.
The Beat Hollow six-year-old ran 12th in the Makybe Diva on debut in Australia but needs to be forgiven that run as they nearly fell at the start.
Their European form is outstanding too heading into the spring cups as they were able to defeat 2011 Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden in the Hardwicke Stakes at Ascot last year.
While every horse in the Underwood Stakes field this year is worth a mention some of the more noteworthy then include Adelaide visitor Happy Trails, Pat Carey’s Cox Plate fourth placegetter from last year Ethiopia and New Zealand mare Silent Achiever out to improve on her Memsie 11th.
For the complete Underwood Stake 2013 field, barriers, jockeys and weights see the below table.
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2013 Underwood Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Caulfield Race 9 – 4:55pm (AEST) – 21/09/2013
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||52171x44x5||GREEN MOON (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Brett Prebble||10||59kg||116|
|2||6x004742x6||MANIGHAR (FR)||Peter G Moody||Daniel Stackhouse||3||59kg||113|
|3||x1212326x9||MR MOET||Adam Durrant||Damien Oliver||13||59kg||108|
|4||5171522×81||FORETELLER (GB)||Chris Waller||Craig Newitt||11||59kg||112|
|5||01x9903x57||HAPPY TRAILS||Paul Beshara||Dwayne Dunn||4||59kg||111|
|6||1x7640x0x5||ETHIOPIA||Pat Carey||Rhys McLeod||1||59kg||110|
|7||32x115x8x0||SEA MOON (GB)||Robert Hickmott||Craig Williams||5||59kg||113|
|8||51211x1x12||PUISSANCE DE LUNE (IRE)||Darren Weir||Glen Boss||14||59kg||111|
|9||24244x22x8||WALDPARK (GER)||Anthony Freedman||Ben Melham||9||59kg||109|
|10||01150x70x0||MY QUEST FOR PEACE (IRE)||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||2||59kg||106|
|11||27x41112x4||IT’S A DUNDEEL (NZ)||Murray Baker||James McDonald||12||58kg||116|
|12||1111x11x11||ATLANTIC JEWEL||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||7||57kg||117|
|13||14x24524x0||SILENT ACHIEVER (NZ)||Roger James||Steven Arnold||8||57kg||112|
|14||31052167×7||DEAR DEMI||Clarry Conners||Brad Rawiller||6||56kg||104|