The Group One Underwood Stakes takes centre stage at Caulfield on Saturday, with rising star Russian Camelot stepping out as an odds-on favourite.
His first up effort in the Makybe Diva was superb and aside from the main danger Arcadia Queen, he looks a class above the rest.
Mr Quickie looks back to his best after a strong first-up effort in the Memsie Stakes over 1400m, while Harbour Views will have one last chance to prove he’s worthy of a start in the Cox Plate.
The track is currently rated a Good 4 but with heavy rain forecast across Melbourne, I’m expecting the track to rate a Soft 6 come race day.
The rail is out 6 metres for the entire circuit. There was no evident bias at the last Caulfield meeting with the rail out 3 metres, and I expect the track to once again play fairly.
The veterans of the field Trap For Fools (6) and Gailo Chop (5) will set the speed pressing forward, while Russian Camelot (9) and Mr Quickie (10) will be taken back from wide draws.
Arcadia Queen (1) maps awkwardly from barrier one and will take a midfield sit, where she'll need luck on turning for home.
The race lacks genuine tempo and I expect a sit and sprint, which will see Russian Camelot and Mr Quickie given every chance out wide.
Analysis & Tips
1st Russian Camelot $2.00
I’m always looking for value in a race, but it’s impossible to tip against this superstar colt who I’m already declaring in next month’s Cox Plate.
The way he performed first-up in the Makybe Diva Stakes was breathtaking.
He sat 5 wide the trip without cover in that clash, before hitting the front at the top of the straight and continuing to fight only to be beaten half a length by the fit and talented Fierce Impact.
He presents here second-up and will only improve with the rise in trip from a mile to 1800m. The only knock is his poor barrier manners but if he jumps well, he wins.
The race lacks genuine tempo and I expect a sit and sprint, which will see Russian Camelot best equipped to use his electric turn of foot.
Look for him to loop the field from the rear and charge down the outside to victory.
2nd Mr Quickie
Looks to have found his form again after a strong first-up effort in the Memsie Stakes over 1400m, which saw him finish second behind Behemoth.
Now second-up and rising to 1800m, he will improve again and get a similar run to Russian Camelot who’s drawn to his inside.
Lane stays aboard and I believe he will again prove he’s well and truly on track for a Mackinnon Stakes in November.
3rd Arcadia Queen
The second-best horse on paper, but maps to be pocketed midfield from the inside draw.
Her last start effort saw her return to her best and she’s ready to peak third-up at 1800m, but will need a Pike special to be winning.
4th So Si Bon
Put together his career peak effort last start when finishing third in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes, after being last on the turn.
I don’t expect him to finish ahead of the leading three chances, but if you’re playing exotics, he's worth including.