A small field of five has accepted for Saturday’s $1 million Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Ladbrokes Park Sandown, with all eyes on current Cox Plate favourite Zaaki.
After dominating to win the Tramway Stakes three weeks ago, the Annabel Neasham-trained gelding is now in search of a second Group 1 win on the way to his grand final at Moonee Valley on October 23.
Three-time Group 1 winner Probabeel appears the main danger, while there’s something to be said for Superstorm after Danny O’Brien won this race last year with Russian Camelot.
We’ve cast our eyes over the entire field, and analysis on each runner can be found in our 2021 Underwood Stakes Preview below!
Fifty Stars has been disappointing in two runs back, finishing well down the straight in both the Memsie and the Makybe Diva Stakes.
He does hold a perfect 2-0 record here at Sandown, but is tough to recommend based on recent form.
It is no surprise to find Zaaki at unbackable odds heading into the Underwood.
Annabel Neasham’s European import is unbeaten in his last five starts, a streak that includes a dominant seven-length win in the Group 1 Doomben Cup during the Brisbane Winter Carnival.
The star seven-year-old picked up right where he left off a fortnight go with a comfortable win in the Tramway first-up, and now prepares for his Melbourne debut with an eye towards the Cox Plate.
The talented stayer is the current $2.50 favourite ahead of next month’s feature at The Valley, and if he dominates on Saturday like the market suggests, that quote might firm even further.
The Chosen One
The Chosen One is back for another crack at the Underwood after finishing second-last last year.
It’s now been over a year since he won a race, but he did show some improvement for third first-up at The Valley in the Feehan Stakes.
This looks a much tougher assignment though, while the fact he’s unplaced in two starts over 1800m is a slight cause for concern.
Superstorm brings winning form into the Underwood with a narrow win in last fortnight’s Feehan Stakes at The Valley to his name.
Danny O’Brien won this race last year with Russian Camelot, and he appears a chance to defend his crown with the son of Sebring, who has placed twice at Group 1 level in the past.
The five-year-old has won third-up previously and could run well again at double-figures.
Probabeel returns on the quick backup after finishing off fairly for fifth in last week’s Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at Caulfield.
The Savabeel mare found herself in a tricky position out wide, but is obviously worth forgiving as she makes the switch to weight-for-age racing for the remainder of the spring.
She remains a slight query racing on the seven-day backup for the first time, but with an eye towards the Cox Plate, this race does give her a chance to measure up against the favourite.