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Hawk’s Saturday Selections: 2013 Underwood Stakes Day

September 21, 2013

You know the business end of the spring isn’t far away when the Underwood Stakes is here.

The AFL Grand Final is only a week away, meaning the focus of Melbourne will turn to spring racing after next weekend.

And with it looking like being a memorable spring, I can’t wait for the big races to arrive.

This week, I’ve brought back my runner-by-runner preview for the Underwood Stakes, a cracking feature.

For the races that have previews, I’ve included comments I made in Luxbet’s weekly press release, Lux in Running.

Here are Hawk’s Saturday Selections for Underwood Stakes Day:

CAULFIELD

Race 1 – PIN AND WIN FOR STARLIGHT CHILDREN’S FOUNDATION HANDICAP (1400m)

3 – BEC SAID NO CREDIT
8 – DARTOOK
4 – TWILIGHTING
5 – ROSE PATTERN

Race 2 – LE PINE FUNERALS HANDICAP (1100m)

7 – SHAMAL WIND
6 – ROYAL BENDER
9 – CAVALLO NERO
11 – FALCENT

Race 3 – NINE WEST PLATE (1000m)

4 – VILLA VERDE
7 – IMPULSIVE SPIRIT
12 – MENAGE A CHARGE
1 – ICONIC

Race 4 – THE INGLIS BONUS HANDICAP (1700m)

2 – ROCKFORD
10 – LE MANS
1 – RESISTANT
4 – SELF SENSE

Race 5 – GROUP 3 SPORTINGBET SPRINT SERIES HEAT 2 STAKES (1200m)

4 – LAKE SENTENTIA
7 – HAZARD
3 – OCTAVIA
2 – CATKINS

Race 6 – ROY HIGGINS AND WYLIE DALZIEL RACING AND TILE IMPORTER HANDICAP (1400m)

15 – RHYTHM TO SPARE
14 – DON’T GET EXCITED
10 – MELIORA
5 – SHOREHAM

Race 7 – GROUP 2 THOUSAND GUINEAs PRELUDE (1400m)

It’s a tough race, and the last two winners (Lady of Harrods and Bliss Street) won at double figures. This year, however, the market looks to be spot on. POLITENESS is the favourite coming off two very strong wins at the provincials. She was heavily backed in Blue Diamond markets earlier this year, and she’s expected to be a Thousand Guineas contender. However she faces stiff competition from KISS A ROSE and GREGERS, who are both coming out of the Danehill Stakes. Given her barnstorming win in the Quezette Stakes, KISS A ROSE looks mighty hard to beat in this race.

2 – KISS A ROSE
8 – MARIANNE
9 – POLITENESS
6 – GREGERS

Race 8 – GROUP 3 NATURALISM STAKES (2000m)

The winner of the Naturalism Stakes gets a ticket straight into the Caulfield Cup, so it will be a keenly contested race. SAHARA SUN’s the only runner in the race not nominated for the Caulfield Cup, while TUSCAN FIRE is the only horse guaranteed a run in the feature. PAKAL is the favourite, but any horse in the race could win the race – even horses like Chairman’s Handicap winner TREMEC ($81) and Perth Cup winner TALENT SHOW ($101). For us, we’re keen on QUINTESSENTIAL, who was a terrific fifth to Commanding Jewel in the Let’s Elope Stakes, and MR O’CEIRIN, who would be close to favourite if he hadn’t drawn barrier 19. But it’s a race where going wide may be the best option.

7 – QUINTESSENTIAL
5 – MR O’CEIRIN
1 – SEVILLE
11 – TREMEC

Race 9 – GROUP 1 UNDERWOOD STAKES (1800m)

Click here to read my runner-by-runner preview of the Underwood Stakes.

RANDWICK

Race 1 – VALE KEITH ROBBINS HANDICAP (1600m)

6 – PHOTON WILLIE
2 – GANGSTER’S CHOICE
9 – TWISTED EMOTIONS
4 – SAINTHOOD

Race 2 – GROUP 2 TEA ROSE STAKES (1400m)

It’s disappointing this race has only drawn the six runners, but the quality is there. GUELPH is a justifiable favourite, given she’s a two time Group 1 winner and she’ll appreciate the step up to 1400m. However, the small field could prove her undoing, as she tends to need time to wind up. Also, ARABIAN GOLD looks like a filly who could be anything as a three year old, a fact that would be sickening to those punters who took $1.30 about her on Canberra’s Acton track last year. She was simply sensational in a recent barrier trial, when she made Toydini and Streama look second rate. If she runs up to her trial, she’ll put these fillies away.

3 – ARABIAN GOLD
1 – GUELPH
2 – BOUND FOR EARTH
4 – ROMANTIC MOON

Race 3 – LISTED HERITAGE STAKES (1100m)

BARBED didn’t trial overly well leading into this, but I was taken by his win at the midweeks earlier this year. He’s got a bright future and he looks overs for this. DIAMOND OASIS was strong in winning last week, while VA PENSIERO has come back particularly well.

8 – BARBED
6 – DIAMOND OASIS
1 – VA PENSIERO
3 – WHITTINGTON

Race 4 – SYDNEY CITY TOYOTA HANDICAP (1200m)

13 – ANGEL BEE
8 – VALDHEZ
10 – ROCK MAGIC
3 – SHELFORD

Race 5 – GROUP 1 GEORGE MAIN STAKES (1600m)

The George Main is always a handy little race, and this year is no exception, as Caulfield Cup favourites HAWKSPUR and ROYAL DESCENT clash with Golden Rose runner up DISSIDENT, Doncaster Mile winner SACRED FALLS and the Warwick Stakes quinella VEYRON and STREAMA. Hawkspur looked like Phar Lap reincarnated when he won the Chelmsford Stakes last start, but that was against stayers looking for further. Here, he meets specialist milers and he’ll need to run to that form to win again. He looks more than capable of doing that, and in a small field, his tactical versatility may be the difference between winning and losing. If there’s to be one who might upset him, it could be a top miler in FAWKNER. His last 200m was very good in the Tramway and with a little bit of luck, he’ll be right in the finish as he heads to the Epsom.

6 – HAWKSPUR
4 – FAWKNER
5 – SACRED FALLS
1 – SHOOT OUT

Race 6 – GROUP 3 BILL RITCHIE HANDICAP (1400m)

The Bill Ritchie is the best lead up for the handicappers heading to the Epsom. MALAVIO and BELLO dominated on pace last start, with Malavio narrowly holding off Bello. However, as SIZZLING nears his spring targets, expect him to improve greatly. If he doesn’t get as far back this start, he’ll prove hard to beat. His main danger is BOBAN, who won in the manner of a good horse first up and looks to have plenty of upside. At odds, expect ASHOKAN to run a good race, given the 1400m looks to be his best distance. He was strong to the line in the Show County Quality.

3 – SIZZLING
9 – BOBAN
2 – MALAVIO
12 – ASHOKAN

Race 7 – GROUP 2 HILL STAKES (2000m)

This race has been robbed of a little bit of interest with likely favourite Beaten Up and the Melbourne Cup-bound Kelinni both joining Hawkspur as scratchings. However, this still looks to be the strongest lead up race for the Metropolitan on October 5, and a number of these are likely to be Cups-bound. No one missed the run of KINGDOMS first up, when he never saw daylight and finished second last. There was much more merit in the run than there looks on paper, and it’s no surprise he’s now a clear third favourite. In the autumn, he finished in front of Toydini and Hawkspur at this track and distance, and now he’s a gelding, he should race much more genuinely. Expect him to burst into contention as a lightweight Cups chance here. At odds, keep an eye on MASKED MARVEL – last first up in the Makybe Diva Stakes but will be greatly improved for the run – and IRONSTEIN, who was a very good second in the Premier’s Cup.

12 – KINGDOMS
2 – MASKED MARVEL
6 – BAYRIR
9 – IRONSTEIN

Race 8 – GROUP 2 THE SHORTS (1100m)

A very difficult sprint race to dissect. SESSIONS was very good first up behind DECISION TIME, and it’s no surprise to see these two heading up the market. However, there were a number of good runs in the race – most notably from HAY LIST – so I’d be wary about saying they are the only two winning chances. TIGER TEES, MANAWANUI and SPIRIT OF BOOM all deserve respect first up too, while MIC MAC steps back from 1600m back to 1200m. Don’t be surprised to see Hay List return to his best here.

1 – HAY LIST
11 – SESSIONS
7 – SPIRIT OF BOOM
4 – DECISION TIME

HASTINGS

Race 8 – GROUP 1 WINDSOR PARK PLATE (1600m)

SURVIVED is a justifiable favourite given the way he won the Makfi Challenge Stakes, and he looks like being New Zealand’s next weight for age star. But I’m not sure the old brigade have hoisted the white flag yet, and I can’t believe you can get $10 about MUFHASA. In a race devoid of any speed, he’s likely to lead them up and he might just get away with murder up in front. $10 is overs and I’d be suggesting to have something on him. I’m also interested to see how ZENNISTA goes as she returns from her successful Queensland raid – residual fitness may have her in the mix at odds.

1 – MUFHASA
5 – SURVIVED
2 – NASHVILLE
8 – ZENNISTA

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