The Ben, Will & JD Hayes-trained Cox...
The talented Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained Alligator Blood is favourite in 2023 Underwood Stakes betting at Caulfield this weekend to return to Group 1 winning form on the quick back-up.
Last Saturday at Flemington the $6.4 million earner ran a brave second behind the form horse of the season when runner-up to Mr Brightside in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).
He has been accepted for the short seven-day turnaround this weekend where he will jump favourite up in distance third-up and fit in the Group 1 $750,000 Underwood Stakes (1800m).
The seven-year-old son of All Too Hard chases his first win since the Futurity back in February and has won his only other 1800m test to date when claiming this race by three-quarters of a length over Mo’unga last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival at Sandown Hillside.
He won last year’s Underwood Stakes on the back of a Makybe Diva second and now looks to go back-to-back, albeit on different tracks, in Saturday’s Group 1 for the first time since Northerly (2001, 2002).
More recently the marvel Black Heart Bart won the Underwood twice but on non-successive years in 2016 and 2019.
Alligator Blood faces a capacity field of 15 rivals from a favourable barrier eight draw with Damien Oliver continuing associations.
The latest Underwood Stakes odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au have the Gator at $3.20 and firming with the main danger considered to be the returning Anthony & Sam Freedman-trained import Without A Fight ($4.80).
Mark Zahra has the first-up ride on the Melbourne Cup nominated stayer whose latest run had him winning the Group 2 $1.2 million The Q22 (2200m) at Eagle Farm on June 10.
That was his second win on the trot in Brisbane for the winter and just his third run down under following a 13th in last year’s Melbourne Cup results behind Gold Trip when still internationally trained by Simon Crisford.
He trialled well at Cranbourne earlier in the month ahead of his highly-anticipated return and is sure to build on whatever he does fresh over the 1800m in the Underwood.
A further two runners are also at single-figures to win the Caulfield feature with the Mitchell Freedman-trained Attrition ($8) drawn wide out in gate 15 and Lindsey Smith’s consistent performer Tuvalu ($8.50).
Ben Melham sticks aboard progressive four-year-old Churchill entire Attrition having ridden the horse for his two lead-ups this prep.
Fresh he was only two lengths fifth to Mr Brightside in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at this track before improving to finish just a nostril flare away second to Pinstriped in the Group 2 Feehan Stakes (1600m) over the mile at Moonee Valley.
He was narrowly denied a Group 1 victory as a three-year-old in the autumn when second to Legarto at Flemington in the Australian Guineas and is looking to atone here in his first 1800m assignment.
Tuvalu meanwhile has drawn gate 13 for Ms Jamie Kah with the six-year-old son of Kermadec coming off the same two lead-ups when fourth in the Lawrence Stakes and third in the Feehan.
He is proven at the distance, was second to Alligator Blood last Melbourne Cup Carnival in the Group 1 Champions Mile (1600m), and he looks well-position to win his first race since the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) here last October.
2023 Underwood Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||601x22460x||VOW AND DECLARE||Danny O’Brien||Billy Egan||4||59kg||106|
|2||551x140x42||ALLIGATOR BLOOD||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Damien Oliver||8||59kg||116|
|3||52x5332x00||MO’UNGA (NZ)||Annabel Neasham||Jamie Mott||17||59kg||111|
|4||70x18402x0||NONCONFORMIST||Grahame Begg||Harry Coffey||6||59kg||106|
|5||x312x79x43||TUVALU||Lindsey Smith||Ms Jamie Kah||13||59kg||111|
|6||1177x884x6||SMOKIN’ ROMANS (NZ)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||John Allen||14||59kg||108|
|7||616x69x00x||ALENQUER (FR)||Michael Moroney||Declan Bates||10||59kg||113|
|8||311x20x11x||WITHOUT A FIGHT (IRE)||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Mark Zahra||11||59kg||111|
|9||51111121×2||RIGHT YOU ARE||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ben Allen||2||59kg||106|
|10||41x1x682x1||SOULCOMBE (GB)||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||5||59kg||106|
|11||52x131x8x0||DUKE DE SESSA (IRE)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ethan Brown||16||59kg||105|
|12||18x27410x8||BANK MAUR||Richard Laming||Jye McNeil||1||58kg||99|
|13||2x51210x04||LINDERMANN||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||3||58kg||106|
|14||33x1152x52||ATTRITION||Mitchell Freedman||Ben Melham||15||58kg||103|
|15||6880x43x79||DUAIS||Edward Cummings||Craig Williams||7||57kg||112|
|16||612x7931x8||LUNAR FLARE||Grahame Begg||Michael Dee||12||57kg||107|
|17e||x60847x725||ALASKAN GOD||Daniel Morton||9||59kg||92|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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