Robert Hickmott’s last start Makybe Diva Stakes winner Fawkner is one of the headline nominations taken for the latest Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival Group 1, the Underwood Stakes 2015 at Caulfield Racecourse on Saturday.
One of two elite levels on the program at Victoria’s premier meeting this weekend, the $400,000 Group 1 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) has attracted 16 early entries.
Of those just three come off a last start victory leading into the weight-for-age staying showdown including the Lloyd Williams-owned Fawkner who became a triple Group 1 champ first-up at Flemington in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) a fortnight ago.
The last Underwood Stakes winner to come off a run in the Makybe Diva was Weekend Hussler who completed the double back in 2008.
Fawkner’s two earlier Group 1 victories were in the 2013 Caulfield Cup and 2014 Caulfield Stakes, and he returns to the track of those triumph in the Underwood on Saturday.
Also coming off last start victories are the Mick Price-trained German import Takenja and The Cleaner for Tasmanian trainer Mick Burles.
Six-year-old Dubawi mare Takenja is only lightly raced for her age boasting three wins and a second from her five runs to date, only one of those being on Aussie soil when taking out a 1400m Benchmark 90 at Sandown-Lakeside on debut down under on August 26.
The Cleaner is in flying form again this prep, the Savoire Vivre eight-year-old and crown favourite last seen winning the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley at the start of the month ahead of his fourth Caulfield run where he shoots for his first win at the track.
The Dato’ produced last year’s Underwood champ Foreteller (2014) for Chris Waller who ran third in the Group 2 lead-up before the big win with Glen Boss in the saddle.
After Fawkner some of the other top rated Underwood Stakes nominees this season include the John O’Shea-trained Contributer, Mongolian Khan and fellow Kiwi visitor Volkstok’n’barrell.
Godolphin’s High Chaparral stallion Contributer has had just the one run for one win at Caulfield ahead of the Underwood, the six-year-old’s best form being in Sydney during the autumn when he won the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) – Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) double.
First-up Contributer ran fifth behind The Cleaner in the Dato’, an effort he is tipped to improve on over more distance this weekend.
New Zealand raider Mongolian Khan heads towards the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17, the Holy Roman Emperor four-year-old having won Sydney’s Group 1 ATC Derby over the same distance as a three-year-old back in April.
Murray Baker’s stallion returned in the Makybe Diva running a close seventh to Fawkner, the genuine stayer beaten only 1.55 lengths over an unsuitably short distance.
Two of the past four editions of the Underwood Stakes were won by New Zealand-trained horses with Lion Tamer (2011) for Baker and the Gary Hennessy-trained Ocean Park (2012).
The Donna Logan-trained Tavistock gelding Volkstok’n’barrell is another four-year-old Kiwi visitor in the mix, the ATC Derby third placegetter and Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) winner from the autumn to race third-up on Saturday having last finished dead last when 14th in the Makybe Diva.
Coming off better lead-up runs are the likes of the David Hayes & Tom Dabernig-trained progressive Hong Kong import Dibayani who ran third in the Dato’ in a fast finishing effort, stablemate Rising Romance who crossed second in a brave Makybe Diva run just a neck off the winner the former Kiwi-trained mare faces again this weekend, and Makybe Diva third placed Pentire six-year-old Entirely Platinum for Team Hawkes who was also runner-up in the Memsie Stakes at Caulfield before that.
Check out the full Underwood Stakes 2015 nominations below then visit our preferred online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au for all the top spring odds and up to $700 in bonus bets for a short time only!
2015 Underwood Stakes Nominations
Caulfield Racecourse – 26/09/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|1||1x18x111x5||CONTRIBUTER (IRE)||H||6||John O’Shea||113|
|2||25x6624x00||DANDINO (GB)||H||9||Darren Weir||105|
|3||43352x0x33||DIBAYANI (IRE)||G||6||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||105|
|4||28x2460x23||ENTIRELY PLATINUM (NZ)||G||6||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||107|
|6||14x2111x50||HI WORLD||H||4||Peter G Moody||102|
|8||01111151×7||MONGOLIAN KHAN||H||4||Murray Baker||112|
|9||1x80429x00||MORIARTY (IRE)||G||8||Chris Waller||106|
|11||226x122x62||RISING ROMANCE (NZ)||M||5||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||110|
|13||114x2x1||TAKENJA (GER)||M||6||Mick Price||85|
|14||939x245x21||THE CLEANER||G||8||Mick Burles||110|
|15||1113213×70||VOLKSTOK’N’BARRELL (NZ)||G||4||Donna Logan||110|
|16||130082×249||WEARY (FR)||G||6||Chris Waller||107|