The Underwood Stakes is shaping as a Cox Plate preview with the three market leaders ready to do battle in the Group One race at Caulfield on Saturday.
Atlantic Jewel will be nominated for the Underwood (1800m) on the back of what turned out to be little more than a track gallop in the Stocks Stakes at Moonee Valley.
The unbeaten mare is the $2.70 favourite for next month’s Cox Plate (2040m) at the Valley ahead of Puissance De Lune at $6 and It’s A Dundeel at $9.
Puissance De Lune, the Melbourne Cup favourite, suffered a shock defeat by Foreteller last time out in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) to remain a Group One maiden.
Trainer Darren Weir was critical of his jockey Glen Boss after the race but less so on reflection.
“I just thought, if anything, Glen might have got a little bit of itchy feet, that’s all,” Weir said.
The trainer will stick to the program with Puissance De Lune who will have a serious hit-out on Tuesday.
“He just needs those continual fortnight runs now. He is in great order,” Weir said.
Atlantic Jewel stretched her winning sequence to nine with her Stocks Stakes victory with trainer Mark Kavanagh describing her performance as little more than a working gallop.
Sydney trainer Chris Waller will nominate Foreteller, confident after the gelding beat Puissance De Lune but not so happy to hear Atlantic Jewel could be among his rivals.
It’s A Dundeel hasn’t raced since his fourth in the Group One Memsie Stakes (1400m) on August 31 won by Atlantic Jewel.
He was held up for a run near the 200m and was perhaps unlucky not to have achieved a higher placing in a bunched group for second place.
The Memsie was the New Zealand four-year-old’s first start since his second to Reliable Man in the Group One Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick which came after he won Sydney’s three-year-old triple crown.