Crio’s Racing: Underwood 2011

Though it is far from a vintage Underwood Stakes card, the MRC deserve a big crowd in response to their various initiatives – most prominently free admission – for the Spring Carnival Prelude day on Saturday. With no AFL games, hopefully balmy weather and a ripper Rosehill meeting on the TVs, we’re anticipating plenty of action in the betting ring.

Very few of the punting dollars, however, will be mine, as not much has “jumped off the page” on first inspection, but, as usual, I am ready to be persuaded!

If the weather is fine, The Heath is a really nice place to be, especially out the back around the horse stalls and parade rings. Go there and take a look at some of the key players for upcoming feature races.

From a punting perspective I’ll try to keep my hands in my pockets until at least Race4 (MR4,1400m,mares). Zaira (9) will probably be fav, but, after being backed for a fortune in a hot race last time, she’ll be unders. She should box seat but need luck. The enigmatic Heidilicious resumes but needs a lot to go right. She can miss the kick and needs speed on, but she certainly has talent. The safest options here appear to be Gail (11) and Zubbaya (7). Maybe box up a few for an early bank.

Testa My Patience (1) deserves to be short in the next, but there are a couple of others worth pondering. Pinnacles (5) is flying. Berringama (11), a gun first up, will be healthy odds. And Veewap (15), is due a win. It will be my bet if it sneaks in to the field.

Main interest in the Thousand Guineas Prelude (G3, 1400m) will be focused on Kav’s Flemington star Celebrity Girl (4) and Moody’s Hallowell Belle (8), who will be relieved not to be chasing Sepoy. Quality race that this is, there’s a sense that these may not be the cream. Atlantic Jewel looked to be the real deal last week and this could be about the best of the rest. Kav’s for mine.

I don’t know where to start with the Underwood Stakes (G1, 1800m). As usual in these sorts of WFA fields, Heart Of Dreams (3) is the barometer. This is his distance and grade and he’ll be better odds. The obvious challengers are Glass Harmonium (7) and, with blinkers on, the suddenly vulnerable Lights Of Heaven (14). But this contest is just as much about the weeks ahead as booms will bloom or burst. Succinctly, 1-Flemington only and later; 2-No; 5-very promising and would be even keener at HQ but put in exotics; 6-Melbourne Cup tip for me;  8-better on wet?; 9-ripper prospect but I worry re hoop at this draw and track; 10-handicaps; 11critical run for Cups hopes;  12-gone?;  13- can’t wait to see this star and gauge progress for 2000m and beyond; 15-always unders. I’ll speck Midas Touch E/W.

The Naturalism (G3, 2000m) looks more straightforward. It has a qualifying clause for the Caulfield Cup and thus provides a pathway for December Draw to get to October’s big mile and a half handicap. Rightly he will be well in the red but, though you could easily put him “blonk” in a quaddy, I reckon betting is foolhardy. His only blemish was at Moonee Valley and he has looked imperious on Flemington’s expanses. Why risk a Caulfield “maiden”? Put twice as much on at HQ and maybe stick to exotics here. I’m Jake (16) will race handy and the pace could be muddling. This will work against backmarker Anudjawan (18) whose finish was eyecatching at the Valley.

The dogs are barking Sister Madly to be too classy on her return in the last (MR9,mares, G3, 1200m.). She’s clear top pick in a good race. Miss Octopussy (12) rates as the danger for mine.

Keen punters will know to keep an eye on the races from Rosehill, arguably the premier meeting Saturday with 6 Group races scheduled.

In the George Main Stakes (SR5, G1, 1500m) Sincero (5) is in cracking form and should win again.

The Tea Rose (SR6, G2, 3yo fillies) will depend upon the pace in the race. 3 + 6 race handy. Pane In the Glass (2) and Anise (5) will be my choices if they can swoop.

The Shorts (SR7, G2, 1200m) is a good race but Decision Time (3) should have them covered on form and weights. Watch Danleigh(1) fresh.

Be sure to watch replays from both states if you want to be involved at the “pointy end” this Spring. Good luck if you are having a punt and, if you are heading to the track, come and say g’day at Lillis Kilmartin on the Concourse.


  1. David Downer says


    Will second you on Midas Touch. I reckon he’ll get plenty of nibbles at $13. This campaign he’s a run or two ahead of many of these, and will go forward from barrier 2 without a heap of pace on. Can either box seat or stack them up himself. Is an Arc runner (played pacemaker) and had good classic form against some of Europe’s best. Pretty handy credentials now he’s fitter in a relatively ordinary edition of the race.

    Will be interesting to see if Lights of Heaven suffered from second-up syndrome, or whether she further proves the Whobe Liston form was a bit shabby.

    And punters don’t forget the 3 party pies for 99c deal either …everyone’s a winner!

  2. Crio
    Neville Layt is talking like a man who has a sizeable piece of his house on Kuruda Queen today. His spruik in the Canberra Times has the mare as unbeatable and, all the other good 3 yr olds arent there.

  3. Crio and David,

    Like you, I specked Midas Touch early on his European form and backed him to stop the nation. Will go very close but better at the Mecca I’m thinking.

    The second best bet of the day is Valentine Miss in the last. Has run 4th in 3 Group ones around Group 1 winners like Rostova, Beaded, Response, Velocitea, Crystal lily and a rival today Lone Rock and has beaten Pinwheel home. All this in Adelaide I agree, but goes very well at Caulfield and goes very well second up (5-220)

    The best bet of the day is obviously the Party Pie deal. If it didn’t cost so much to get off this rock, that alone would be enough to get me in a cab to the Heath, especially with the hangover I am currently experiencing.

  4. Tony,

    Wonder if Neville Layt’s nickname shouldn’t be “Larry” because “Larry’s Neville Layt”

    Sorry, thought it, had to share it.

  5. David Downer says

    And I will fall into Avenue one last time. Decent price around $11.

    Back to Mares grade and worth noting drawing barrier 3 today, so wont be working too hard early. Record is very good when drawing inside. Ditto when third up – including a second in the Oakleigh Plate. Easier than that today.

    Blinkers off may do the trick? We’ll see….

  6. DD,

    Surely you’ve reached a dead-end with Avenue.

    Looks an ordinary spring for mine.

    3yo’s look OK.

  7. David Downer says

    Yeah she’s gone PF.

    She owed me a couple, think I tried to convince myself, and she’s not double figures too often. At the 200 it was all over – not just the race, her career. I reckon she’ll now be off to “make babies”.

    Midas Touch ran well though. Typical Euro on-pacer. Looked gone half-way down the straight but just sticks on all day.

    As per your sentiments,I did comment immediately post-Underwood “gee it’s an even Spring”. Team Baker didn’t think Lion Tamer was ready to win today.

    Big turn out at Caulfield with the free entry (almost a Guineas size crowd). With the Cats Prelim now Satdy arvo, they may as well throw the gates open again this week.

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