2018 Hyland Colours Underwood Stakes
Sunday 30th September 2018
Race 7: 4.30pm (AEST)
1800 metres, WFA
X4968 1. BLACK HEART BART (7), J: BRAD RAWILLER, W: 59 KGS, 16.00
4X817 2. HUMIDOR (1), J: DAMIAN LANE, W: 59 KGS, 3.80
834X6 3. AMBITIOUS (4), J: MARK ZAHRA, W: 59 KGS, 19.00
X56X0 4. TOSEN BASIL (3), J: JOHN ALLEN, W: 59 KGS, 41.00
61X16 5. COMIN’ THROUGH (2), J: MICHAEL WALKER, W: 59 KGS, 7.00
33270 6. POUNAMU (6), J: MICHAEL DEE, W: 59 KGS, 126.00
2110X 7. BLAIR HOUSE (8), J: JAMES MCDONALD, W: 59 KGS, 5.50
X16X2 8. HOMESMAN (5), J: BEN MELHAM, W: 59 KGS, 7.50
1X581 9. GRUNT (10), J: DAMIEN OLIVER, W: 58 KGS, 3.00
160X9 10. BONNEVAL (9), J: REGAN BAYLISS, W: 57 KGS, 20.00
Form and Predictions
It’s a small but high quality field, with Group 1 winners scattered from top to bottom. The Underwood Stakes is one of three lead up races to the Caulfield Cup where horses get the opportunity to fine tune their preparation leading into the 2400m blue riband race, to be held in three weeks time.
On form, it would be hard to go past the pairing of GRUNT and HUMIDOR. Winners of two Group 1 races so far this season. Grunt picking up the Makybe Diva Stakes two weeks ago, and Humidor landing the Memsie Stakes at the start of the month. Humidor has the inside alley while Grunt draws the outside gate. There doesn’t look like a natural frontrunner in the race, so it will be interesting to see how this pans out. Strangely for Grunt, he is trained on the track, but hasn’t won on it, nor has he raced at 1800m before, so those are the only two doubts. Humidor’s blemish was his last start seventh.
The Godolphin polish is added to this race with Charlie Appleby’s Group 1 winner BLAIR HOUSE. This galloper from the English Newmarket operation won the 1800m Jebel Hatta at Meydan back in March, defeating the likes of Benbatl, Janoobi and Folkswood. He represents the class aspect of this race, and with superjock James McDonald onboard, he should be right in the calculations. Maybe he can take a leaf out of his stablemate Jungle Cat, who won the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes last week? he’s my pick and at $5.50 SP, that seems like good value.
Former Irish galloper HOMESMAN could be the real surprise of the race, considering the small field and lack of a noted frontrunner. Placed in Group 1 company (USA, Belmont Park), and a Group 3 winner, this Spring could see this promising four-year-old step up to another level. Is being aimed at the Caulfield Cup, and a good showing here will rocket him up the order of entry and betting odds.
In his last start, I backed the Chris Waller trained COMIN’ THROUGH. He didn’t fare that well, and he’d need to be at his best to feature here. By reputation, this galloper is a quirky individual, and if his mind is on the job, then he’s every chance. His run in the Makybe Diva (see below) two weeks ago was decent enough, making up a lot of ground to finish sixth. His stats for track and distance doesn’t read too good, but I’m prepared to give him another shot.
Two previous Group 1 champions in BLACK HEART BART and BONNEVAL seem to be unloved in the betting market this time around. Bonneval won this race last year, but has had a long injury layoff, resuming just recently after a year off. Black Heart Bart meanwhile is struggling to find his best form. Now an eight-year-old, maybe (as Donny and Marie Osmond once sung), he’s on the twilight side of the hill? However, it wouldn’t surprise if both these capable gallopers picked up the main prize. At longish odds, it might be worth laying down some spare cash.
The pair of POUNAMU and TOSEN BASIL are both considered outsiders, and it would shock many if either of these two featured in the finish.
Betting Gods Picks
Blair House, Homesman, Comin’ Through
Video Reference Guide
Jebel Hatta (Blair House)
Makybe Diva Stakes (Grunt, Black Heart Bart, Comin’ Through, Humidor, Tosen Basil, Pounamu)
2017 Underwood Stakes (Bonneval) [note, no audio]