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Underwood Stakes Day – Caulfield – Preview, Odds and Tips

Fri, Sep 23, 5:19pm by Bren O'Brien

Underwood Stakes day at Caulfield always marks the serious spring action, as typically the first raceday of the season where there are multiple Group 1 races.

While this year’s editions of the Underwood Stakes and the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes aren’t outstanding Group 1 races in their own rights, the history of these races tells you that they are a great precursor to the rest of the spring,

I remember 20 years ago, watching as Encosta De Lago, then a precocious three-year-old who went onto become one of Australia’s most influential stallions, won what was then called the Vic Health Cup before champion Octagonal bounced back to the winner’s circle in the Underwood.

Since then horses of the calibre of Testa Rossa and Exceed and Excel won the 1400m race while the 1800m Underwood boasts names like Northerly, Elvstroem, So You Think and It’s a Dundeel on its honour roll.

It promises to be a perfect spring day in Melbourne with the rain having cleared and perfect Good 3 or 4 track on offer with the rail back to the true position.

Black Heart Bart is favourite for the Underwood having already won a Group 1 at this track, the Memsie, four weeks ago, while the top pick for the punters in the Sir Rupert Clarke is Sydney sprinter Counterattack.

However, we are going for value here, picking out Mr Individual at $26 in the 1400m race and He Or She at $13 in the main race.

Here’s our full preview of a great day of racing at Caulfield.

Race 1 The Alfred Hospital Plate (1100m)

Tips: (Odds: Sportsbet)

1st: 6. Magic Alibi ($4.6)

2nd: 5. Jalan Jalan ($4.80)

3rd: 4. Super Cash ($3.20)

4th: 1. Tina Melina ($9)

Betting: Magic Alibi has been $5.50 into $4.60, while Super Cash is steady at $3.30 favourite

Summary: A few different formlines converge here, which is not unusual for this time of year. Like the way Magic Alibi has come back and she should have won a G3 in Sydney last time. She’ll do for me. Jalan Jalan always runs well on her home track, while Super Cash has been competitive in group company and should be therabouts first-up. Tina Malina is the best of the rest.

Betting Confidence: Fitness can be key at this time of year and the one run gives us the confidence to take Magic Alibi to win.

WATCH: Our Preview of the Underwood Stakes Day at Caulfield

Race 2 Harry White Classic (2400m)

Tips: Odds: (Sportsbet)

1st: 5. Black Tomahawk ($3.50)

2nd: 8. The Bandit ($3.90)

3rd: 4. Assign ($5)

4th: 7. O’Lonera ($6)

Betting: The withdrawal of Signoff changed this race around with Black Tomahawk coming in from $4.40 into $3.50 favourite, The Bandit in from $4.60 into $3.90 and Almandin $6 into $4.80.

Summary: Small field, long distance, spells danger. Black Tomahawk’s raw form is better than most of these at the moment, it’s just that he keeps finding one better. Today could be his day. The Bandit was very good late last time, we are just a bit suss on the 900m rise in distance. Assign‘s best put him right in this and he did win at this track six months ago, while O’Lonera loves leading at Caulfield.

Betting Confidence: Leave us out here. Black Tomahawk has best form, but finds ways to get beaten. Hate to prove that theory again by backing him. Maybe O’Lonera is the value?

Race 3 Moniek Sambor Tile Importer Handicap (1700m)  

Tips: Odds: (Sportsbet)

1st: 3. Longeron ($6.50)

2nd:6. Mihany ($4.20)

3rd: 4. Big Memory ($6.50)

4th: 1. Royal Rapture ($3)

Betting: Punters have latched onto their best pal Royal Rapture here again, backing him from $4 into $3 after Pilote D’Essai was scratched. Not a lot else has changed in the market, with Mihany $5 into $4.20 and Mr Epic $9 into $7.50.

Summary: Longeron finds another winnable race and seems to like racing at Caulfield having won two and paced four from seven races here. He is good value. Mihany was dominant on pace second-up and must be considered again, while Big Memory ran a really good race first-up at Flemington. He was beaten by Royal Rapture that day, but get the feeling the picket fence might be coming to an end here for that galloper, who will still be competitive.

Betting Confidence: Confident one of Mihany or Longeron will win this, depending on how quickly the race is run. They are both a good enough price to back both.

Race 4: Inglis Cup (2000m)

Tips: Odds: (Sportsbet)

1st: 3. Pay Up Bro ($2.60)

2nd: 2. So Willie ($6)

3rd: 6. Kifaah ($17)

4th: 12. Rosaleisha ($7)

Betting: Craven Image and Kevin’s Time both opened $10 and have been backed into $7.50. Pay Up Bro has been rock solid at $2.60.

Summary: Pay Up Bro has put back-to-back wins together and the penny looks to have finally dropped for this talented four-year-old. Does jump from 1400m to 2000m. So Willie is a consistent Waller galloper who is clearly own south for a reason. Kifaah looks a good price on his last start win, while Rosaleisha has upside, but has a bit to learn after making mistakes last start.

Betting Confidence: Punters do like Pay Up Bro and his form is the best in the race, but not overly confident in a horse jumping 600m in distance off a provincial win. He should win, but can do it without our money on his back.

Race 5: Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m)  

Tips: Odds: (Sportsbet)

1st: 1. Whispering Brook ($2.50)

2nd: 5. I am a Star ($8.50)

3rd: 3. Samara Dancer ($5)

4th: 4. La Luna Rossa ($13)

Betting: Plenty of love for Perth filly Whispering Brook, who has been $4.50 into $2.50 since markets opened after the scratching of Leotie.

Summary: Always a great race this one, and it;s a pity Leotie was scratched. Whispering Brook finds herself on top based on her superior form and record. The wide barrier is a bit of a worry. Prepared to forgive I am a Star on her Sydney flop. She beat Leotie here two back. Samara Dancer is the very consistent galloper, while La Luna Rossa looks good value.

Betting Confidence: Whispering Brook is getting into a short quote but on class should be winning this.

Race 6: Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m)

Tips: Odds: (Sportsbet)

1st: 2. Saracino ($4.80)

2nd: 6. Archives ($4.20)

3rd: 4. Valliano ($21)

4th: 3. Seaburge ($8.50)

Betting: Saracino opened $5.50, but has been backed into $4.80 since then, similarly Archives was $5 and is now $4.20. At longer odds, Revolving Door has been $19 into $13 and I’m Telling Ya was $61 and is now $41.

Summary: Saracino impressed down the Flemington straight first-up and it’s interesting he’s ended up in this race over 1400m. Clearly Murray Baker thinks he can win a Guineas. We now know he’s very good and we think he wins this. Archives trailed him home last time and will be the main danger again. Valliano may have to be ridden with a sit from a wide barrier and that may actually help him, while Seaburge is building to a good win this spring and will improve again here.

Betting Confidence: Saracino looked like he’d gain a lot from that win at Flemington and very confident that he’ll be too brilliant for this lot in this.

Race 7: Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m)             

Tips: Odds: (Sportsbet)

1st: 16. Mr Individual ($19)

2nd: 6. Counterattack ($3.10)

3rd: 11. Bon Aurum ($6.00)

4th: 7. Voodoo Lad ($4.80)

Betting: . Counterattack was $3.8 into $3.50 and is now $3.10 on raceday after Under The Louvre was scratched. Mr Individual is $26 into $19.

Summary: In the absence of Under the Louvre we have picked out for Mr Individual to cause an upset. His Caulfield form is good, he gets a good alley and importantly only has 52kgs. Counterattack is the quality of the race and is well-placed, while Bon Aurum has looked very good in both run this campaign. Voodoo Lad, on trial at the distance but so impressive last time, is in as fourth pick.

Betting Confidence: Get on Mr Individual each way and have a good ride.

Race 8: Underwood Stakes (1800m)

Tips: Odds: (Sportsbet)

1st: 7. He Or She ($13)

2nd: 2. Black Heart Bart ($2.30)

3rd: 11. Lucia Valentina ($4.20)

4th: 3. The Cleaner ($19)      

Betting: The money has kept coming for Black Heart Bart, with punters taking the $2.50 and now $2.30 on offer. Awesome Rock has been $7.50 into $6.

Summary: Really interesting race this. Black Heart Bart is getting beyond his comfort zone in terms of distance and we think he is vulnerable in this. He Or She improved very nicely to finish within two lengths of him last time and the extra 200m looks like it will suit third-up, where he is two wins from four efforts. Great value. Lucia Valentina is all class but may be just a run short, with bigger plans ahead for her, while The Cleaner was brave last time and should be in this for a long way.

Betting Confidence: We feel very confident that an each-way play on He Or She at $13 should give you a great thrill, and hopefully a bit of a windfall.

Race 9 Mypunter.com Hcp (1100m)

Tips: Odds: (Sportsbet)

1st: 12. Hellbent ($3.30)

2nd: 1. Shiedel ($6)

3rd: 2. General Truce ($26)

4th: 7. Inz’n’out ($4.40)

Betting: A few scratchings and a bit of money have shaken up the original market, with Hellbent $4.40 into a clear $3.30 favourite, while Inz’n’out was $5 and is now $4.40.

Summary: Nothing like an open sprint to finish things off. Hellbent appeals here after turning things around with a win at Sale and then apparently smashing a few handy ones in a Casterton jumpout on Tuesday. Weir sprinters are in good nick. We’ll stick solid with Dazza. Shiedel will benefit from an easier run than last time and is a track and distance winner. General Truce is racing in great heart with his runs spaced and is a good price despite winning just one from 23 at this track. Inz’n’out is also a bit of non-winner (eight placings from nine runs over 1100m) but is best when he is fresh.

Prices were correct as of 5pm Friday.  Tips for races with scratchings in the original tips, were updated at 9am Saturday.


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