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UNDERWOOD STAKES

$400,000, Group One, WFA, 1800m

HISTORY

Dates back to 1924 with Whittier winning first two editions.

Significant winners include Phar Lap (1931), Hall Mark (1933-34), Ajax (1938-39-40), Lord (1958,60), Aquanita (1961-62), Tobin Bronze (1966), Bonecrusher (1986), Rubiton (1987), Jeune (1994), Octagonal (1996), Northerly (2001-02), Weekend Hussler (2008), So You Think (2010), It’s A Dundeel (2013).

Only three favourites have won in the past 10 years.

Foreteller’s win last year as an eight-year-old ended a run of six straight wins for the four-year-old age group.

THIS YEAR’S FIELD

Fawkner and Contributer are the two with proven Group One, weight-for-age form. Mongolian Khan will be out to give New Zealand trainer Murray Baker his fourth Underwood overall and third in the past five years. Dual Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes winner The Cleaner will be striving for his first Group One win and a breakthrough victory at Caulfield.

THE SPEED

Popular galloper The Cleaner rolls along in front and makes the race a serious test from a long way out. Hi World and Mourinho can take up handy positions while favourites Fawkner and Contributer are versatile.

KEY COMMENTS

“He’s drawn well. He’s a really consistent horse and rarely puts in a bad one. I’m sure he’s going to be right there again,” said jockey Damien Oliver on Makybe Diva Stakes winner Fawkner.

“I know we’re good enough to be here, it’s just a matter of seeing him do it,” said co-trainer Chris Gibbs on Rosehill Guineas winner Volkstok’n’barrell who faces a campaign-defining race.

“We felt from a stable perspective it was a confusing run, but then he finished beside Contributer and here we are saying he was disappointing,” stable representative Manny Gelagotis on Mourinho’s sixth in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes after his P B Lawrence Stakes win.

THE EARLY MONEY

Early betting has fluctuated around the two favourites Fawkner and Contributer. Fawkner firmed from $3.80 to $3.40 before easing slightly to $3.50 when support came for Contributer ($4.20 into $4). The Cleaner has had some support and is the only other runner under double figures at $6.50.

RECENT WINNERS

Foreteller (2014) third-up after fourth in Memsie Stakes and third in Dato Tan Chin Nam.

It’s a Dundeel (2013) second-up after running fourth in Memsie Stakes.

Ocean Park (2012) second-up after winning Makfi Challenge Stakes in New Zealand.

Lion Tamer (2011) second-up after running fourth in Makfi Challenge Stakes in New Zealand.

So You Think (2010) second-up after winning Memsie Stakes.

 
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