Marked as ‘The Smokey’ for the Makybe Diva Stakes last start, the 4YO showed a clean pair of plates to sprint clear to claim a two length winning margin. That kept his record at Flemington in place and recorded his third victory there and second at the elite level. Sent to the paddock following success in the G1 Australian Guineas at 1600m, the entire was given one trial prior to his return for his Spring campaign in what was a tidy effort over 990m at Cranbourne. Resuming in the G2 PB Lawrence over 1400m, he started favourite when finishing one length from the winner Showtime. Second-up into the Memsie, the effort was questionable when looking to be flat the closing 250m and finishing 2.75 lengths from the winner Humidor. Stepped up to the mile for the Makybe Diva, he proved his penchant for the Flemington surface with a stylish victory. Already a dual G1 winner and looking likely to have more in store, can he dispel his Caulfield demons that show his only two unplaced runs have been at The Heath?
Trained by the astute Charlie Appleby, Blair House will be making his first race appearance in Australia. After taking on a race in York in August of 2017 he was sent for a break before returning at Dubai in January. 2nd over 2000m when first-up, he was again 2nd when second-up over 2000m, Taking on an 1800m third-up he was able to score victory and followed that with a G1 win in the Jebel Hatta again at the nine furlongs. He defeated some handy performers in that race including Folkswood and Benbatl. The table were turned next start in the Dubai Turf Classic again at 1800m when Benbatl displayed his class in scoring a 3.3 length victory with Blair House well beaten by over 10 lengths. Yet to miss a place in 4 first-up runs, he is a two from three at the distance, has James McDonald aboard and with the Appleby polish, there is X Factor abounding around the chestnut.
The Japanese import will be second-up this campaign and will appreciate the rise to 1800m as he builds into his campaign and will be looking for further again. Second-up last preparation and only having his second run since arriving in Australia, he took om the G1 2400m Tancred Stakes at Rosehill. Ridden close to the speed he gave a bold sight when running a 1.3 length 2nd to Almandin displaying the talent that saw his purchase to Australia. After a sub-par run third-up in the Queen Elizabeth, his next start when ridden further back in the G1 Doomben Cup was a solid effort before faltering on the heavy 8 in the Brisbane Cup to end his campaign. Returning in the Dato Tan Chin Nam, his run in finishing 2.3 lengths from Magic Consol was a nice resumption. The 7YO has a strong record at the distance of 7: 1-2-2 with the win coming in G3 Nikkei Sho and has solid numbers when two runs, with two previous victories and a placing from 6 attempts.
His best days might be behind him, but if able to get somewhere near his best, the Weir trained cult hero can certainly ask some questions in this. The winner of this race in 2016, he will line up in his third Underwood Stakes after finishing under two lengths from Bonneval in 2017. Winless since claiming the 1400m G1 Futurity back in February of 2017, Bart has competed at the elite level in 9 of his 12 starts since that last victory. Resuming in the 1200m Bletchingly, he found them too sharp and improved into the PB Lawrence second-up. In the G1 Memsie, there was plenty to like about how he found the line when only one length from the winner Humidor. Ridden in front in the Makybe Diva, he probably wasn’t best suited to that role. His record at The Heath is a respectable 12: 5-2-1 and his lone 1800m victory came in this race two years back, with 4 of his 5 Caulfield wins coming at G1 level.
Held at Caulfield over 1800m, the Underwood Stakes is a Group 1 event that has maintained its status since 1979. Conducted at weight-for-age conditions, the race was run over 2000m between 1954 and 1993 and then in 1994 was reduced to the current distance.
The 2018 edition will offer total prizemoney of $750,000 with the winner to receive $450,000. First held in 1924, the race was held at Williamstown Racecourse until 1947. It moved to Caulfield in 1948 when taken out by Royal Gem.
Bonneval was successful in 2017 for co-trainers Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman when ridden by Hugh Bowman. Other past winners include Black Heart Bart, It’s A Dundeel, So You Think, Weekend Hussler, El Segundo and Octagonal. Northerly is the only dual winner of the race in the past 50 years when successful in 2001 and 2002.
Odds and previews are available for all the major Spring Racing Carnival races at UBET's Spring Racing Betting Hub.
|Date:||Sunday 30th September 2018|
|Race Time:||16:30 AEST|
|2018 Underwood Stakes Odds|
|2016||Black Heart Bart|
|2013||Its A Dundeel|
|2010||So You Think|