First class racing continues in Melbourne this Saturday, this time at Caulfield for Underwood Stakes Day. The main race is the $400,000 Group l Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m), with Manighar, Sincero, Ocean Park and Southern Speed the main four in betting and on current form.
The fillies will get to tune up for the Thousand Guineas with the prelude, run over 1400m. Commanding Jewel will be the one being watched by most punters given how impressive she has been in two career wins from as many starts. The danger could be Spitfire Lady, who was ultra impressive in breaking her maiden status at Seymour when resuming.
Caulfield Cup aspirants will look to get their place in the major handicap by winning the $150,000 Group lll D’Urban Naturalism Stakes (2000m). It shapes up to be a cracking race and a strong form reference for later on in the carnival.
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Race One: Bmw Handicap 1400m Form Guide
Back Me: My theory here is wait until you see what the market is doing on track. If there is any support for Shopaholic, then back her. Has plenty of these in terms of ability and class. My only query is fitness. If she is anywhere near right, she’ll win.
Don’t Back Me: I’d be very careful with Let’s Be Happy. The best ride won the race for her last time out. I doubt very much if she can go back-to-back against this lot.
Big Danger: Chivvy has now produce two cracking runs back from a spell. This is D-Day for her I think. Bumped into Our Miss Jones at the Valley before just being worried out of it late at Mornington. She should get the perfect run here for Dunn and she does have the fitness edge.
Roughie: Twilighting didn’t have much luck at Flemington in a very strong mares race. Rodd put her to sleep on the fence and the daughter of Desert Sun stayed there due to circumstances. From the wide barrier, Williams won’t get stuck on the fence and if she is allowed clear galloping space, she can swamp these at odds.
Race Two: Le Pines Funeral Handicap 1700m Form Guide
Back Me: A majority of these will be going towards the Derby. Gee it’s a hard race. But it was hard not to be impressed by the debut win of Committed. Trialled like a bomb at Cranbourne before he made his debut there over the 1400m and at times, he was very green, but over the last 100m, he showed that he will be winning a big race before he retires. Big test here against more experienced campaigners, but he looks to have the natural ability to overcome that.
Don’t Back Me: High Esteem does appear to have some ability, but I question the form around his maiden success at Bendigo. The horses he beat weren’t anything special and he does line up here against several above average youngsters.
Big Danger: Escado is a beauty. I really like this one. His first up run at Mornington behind Zahee was very good given he sat last in a very slowly run race. To finish as close as he did speaks volumes about how talented this bloke is. He has an inside draw here, so they could race him a touch closer. Hard to beat.
Roughie: Right To Roam looks the ideal Derby type. Sits back, relaxes and works home to find the line. He did exactly that at Flemington behind Jimando despite copping some interference in the run. It wouldn”t surprise me if he got the bikkies.
Race Three: KS Environmental Plate 1000m Form Guide
Back Me: What you see is what you get with Planet Voyage. He jumps, sits on the bunny and gives 110%. Has been freshened since finishing second in the Vain behind Psychic Mick. The only query with me is the weather. If the rain decides to come, then he could be a risk, especially given he is first up. However, I am happy to take that gamble.
Don’t Back Me: The Travelling Man can barely run a strong 1000m. Barrier 14, big weight and the chance of wet ground…No thanks.
Big Danger: Crystal Web has excellent form surrounding him. On debut at Sandown, he beat Union Gap (won since), Let Go Lenni (won on tuesday), then at Flemington he beat home Shoreham, a subsequent winner at that track. He has the pace to dart across from the wide barrier and I think he’ll give plenty of cheek.
Roughie: Magnier is bred to perhaps get over longer, but he did nothing wrong in two runs during the autumn, with a dominant win at Echuca before finishing an unlucky second at Caulfield. Look for him to charge late.
Race Four: Pin And Win For Starlight Children’s Foundation Handicap 1100m Form Guide
Back Me: Going for value in Utah Saints. I anticipate he’ll get the suck run in behind them and have the last say. He had a mixed campaign in the autumn. One start he looked very good, the next he put in an absolute shocker. He is hard to catch, but when right, he is a smart galloper.
Don’t Back Me: Canali and Dream Face. They’ll try and break the track record here because they only know one way to run- flat out fast. Throw in Broken as well because he seems a big risk beyond 1000m.
Big Danger: Petman is another one that can be hard to follow for punters. Talented Adelaide gelding who has raced well at Caulfield in the past against the likes of Mosheen and That’s The One. Goes very well first up and Vlad Duric is riding superbly at the moment.
Roughie: Clinches will more than likely be the rank outsider, but I am sure he’ll beat some home. And if they do crazy in front, which they should, then this bloke will hit the line hard.
Race Five: Dream Thoroughbreds Plate 1400m Form Guide
Back Me: Been spruiking Veewap after both runs this time in and he has found the perfect race. Flashed home in the Carlyon at Moonee Valley before again powering to the line in the Bobbie Lewis. Massive drop in grade for him here. Only 1.5kg over the limit, gun barrier, Oliver takes over and can handle dead/slow ground. Best bet on the card.
Don’t Back Me: Launay…He was disgusting at Flemington. Admittedly, he isn’t a leader, but he was still very disappointing. Not for me.
Big Danger: Dusty Star was very gallant in defeat over this track/distance behind Chase The Rainbow. He sat outside a very hot tempo, was off the bit a fair way out, but picked up and found plenty to finish second. Bossy could easily slide across from the barrier here and he loves some give in the ground. Definite danger.
Roughie: Blackie was picking his way through the field in the Bobbie Lewis and wasn’t a bad first up performance. Has weight to carry, but does have a touch of class. Look for him to again work home nicely.
Race Six: Schweppes Thousand Guineas Prelude 1400m Form Guide
Back Me: I only see two serious contenders here- Commanding Jewel and Spitfire Lady. Leaning towards the latter because she was just so impressive at Seymour and she raced as if she’ll be better at 1400m and beyond. Putting her narrowly on top.
Don’t Back Me: The top two tips have a little gap on the rest I think. Can’t see the winner coming from anything else.
Big Danger: Commanding Jewel will always have a boom on her given she is the sister of star mare Atlantic Jewel. Had the easy kill at Swan Hill before again doing it comfortably at Moonee Valley. I question what she beat at the Valley, but she appears to have plenty of scope for improvement and the 1400m on a bigger track looks ideal.
Roughie: Proper Madam caught the eye when winding up from last down the straight at Flemington behind Member’s Joy. She’ll love the 1400m and a turning track. Got to be included in exotics.
Race Seven: Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes 1800m Form Guide
Back Me: Huge, huge fan of Ocean Park. The kiwi superstar had two runs in Sydney during the autumn and was unlucky in both races, the Randwick Guineas and Rosehill Guineas respectively. He resumed a few weeks back at Hastings in New Zealand and he was simply breathtaking over the final 200m. He sprinted like a world class middle distance horse and the key with him is the barrier. If Bossy uses it, he’ll have a start on his main rivals. I’m liking the $6.50, but I anticipate he’ll get out.
Don’t Back Me: Bit surprised that December Draw is $8. I still think he is a run or two away from producing his form from 12 months ago.
Big Danger: I kept potting Manighar. But after his effort in the Makybe Diva, my mind is changed. The best WFA horse in Australia at the moment. Barrier 10 is a major concern because I wonder how far he’ll get back in the run. The same goes with Sincero. He was ultra impressive in the Memsie and that form was franked last weekend in the Dato Tan Chin Nam. He also has a wide barrier and is a horse that can’t really be used up early. The other danger is Southern Speed. She also has an awkward barrier but the difference is that she has the tactical speed to possie up close to the tempo and do a repeat of her triumph over Manighar.
Roughie: There’ll be one Cups stayer that could easily fill the first four…But which one? Maluckyday and Zabeelionaire look the main two stayers for mine. Look for them to find the line as they head towards a race like the Turnbull enroute to the Caulfield Cup.
Race Eight: D’Urban Naturalism Stakes 2000m Form Guide
Back Me: I think punters across Australia will hope someone pulls out in order for first emergency Freuhling to gain a start. He was very good first up at Mornington, carrying the 60kg over a quick 1600m. He didn’t beat much, but his last 100m was strong. He has the shocking barrier draw (16), but he appears to be the stayer who has abundance of upside.
Don’t Back Me: I’ll pot Zurella. I thought she was lucky to win at Flemington because the runner up, Hi Belle, still can’t get out of the pocket. I think she is a big risk and I can’t see how she is favourite.
Big Danger: Shenzhou Steeds was excellent in his debut WFA run in the Makybe Diva. He sat on the speed and stuck on quite well for sixth, beaten a tick over three lengths. Again, he can roll forward and with a drop in grade, he could prove hard to gun down, especially if the rain arrives.
Roughie: Sea Galleon was enormous at Flemington behind Excluded. Sat last, was held up until the 200m, got out and charged for fourth. Hopefully for his supporters, he can sit much closer here and he is certainly capable of winning here. He just needs a couple of things to go his way.
Race Nine: Sportingbet Sprint Series Stakes (Heat Two) 1200m Form Guide
Back Me: Get the dartboard out and throw them. Fair dinkum, a gold medal if you back the winner. The interesting runner is Soft Sand. She was heavily backed to win the Tatt’s Tiara at Eagle Farm in the winter and never looked likely after missing the start. Unbeaten when produced fresh, unbeaten at 1200m, hasn’t missed a place in four career runs at Caulfield and near unbeaten on rain affected ground.
Don’t Back Me: Under the weight scales, Mosheen is pretty much thrown in. But her first up run was very poor and she’d want to improve a few lengths in order to be competitive.
Big Danger: I’d assume that Oliver had the pick of the two Matty Smith runners yet he has stuck with Hurtle Myrtle. I prefer Combat Kitty. Admittedly, she has been off the scene for 11 months, but I loved the way she trialled against the likes of Lightinthenite and Hallowell Belle. She is classy and has good overall stats. Got to be included.
Roughie: Dropping back to 1200m looks perfect for Total Attraction. Her last two runs have indicated that she can’t quite run out a strong 1400m. So Moody has dropped her back a furlong, Melham reunites with her, should get a soft trip from the inside barrier and can improve back on her home track.
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