Rob Heathcote’s special little filly Startantes...
Cox Plate favourite Zaaki has scared off all but the bravest of rivals with just five runners making-up the 2021 Underwood Stakes final field in Melbourne this weekend.
Headlining the racing action at Sandown on Saturday, the Group 1 $1 million Underwood Stakes (2000m) serves as the key next-up run for Cox Plate-bound gallopers.
It is all-in Cox Plate favourite Zaaki dominating Underwood Stakes betting at a short $1.28 through Ladbrokes.com.au with the Annabel Neasham-trained seven-year-old looking to extend his winning streak.
He was outstanding in Brisbane over the winter including his seven-length win in the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) and gets the chance to secure a second elite level success second-up on Saturday.
Fresh he put the writing on the wall for a big spring campaign with an all-too-easy first-up victory at Randwick in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m).
Zaaki now heads south looking to frank the Sydney form in his Melbourne race debut, the British expat tipped to do exactly that from barrier three with Craig Williams taking over from James McDonald in the saddle.
The danger occupying the second line of Underwood Stakes betting this year is the talented Jamie Richards-trained New Zealand mare Probabeel ($5).
Early money is coming for the five-year-old daughter of Savabeel, the three-time Group 1 winner looking to bounce back from her fifth last Saturday in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).
On the quick back-up she is fit and firing having previously won the Group 3 Cockram Stakes with 60kg before going down only a length in a brave run behind Sierra Sue at Caulfield.
Along with Zaaki the other last start winner in the small but classy Underwood Stakes field is the now Danny O’Brien-trained Superstorm, the five-year-old third-up here off two nice lead-up runs.
Two back he was fourth to Sierra Sue only one and a half lengths off the subsequent Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winning mare in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) before his Moonee Valley win in the Group 2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) on September 4.
Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman’s eye-catching Feehan Stakes third placegetter The Chosen One ($18) and the rails-drawn Fifty Stars chasing his first win since the 2020 Australian Cup round-out this year’s Underwood line-up.
2021 Underwood Stakes Field & Barriers
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||x720872x00||FIFTY STARS (IRE)||Tom Dabernig||John Allen||1||59kg||110|
|2||47x6D111x1||ZAAKI (GB)||Annabel Neasham||Craig Williams||3||59kg||114|
|3||734x2606x3||THE CHOSEN ONE (NZ)||Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman||Damian Lane||5||59kg||107|
|4||2x90736x41||SUPERSTORM||Danny O’Brien||Damien Oliver||4||59kg||108|
|5||17x1102x15||PROBABEEL (NZ)||Jamie Richards||Brett Prebble||2||57kg||115|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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