|Class||WFA, 3YO & above|
|2017 winner||Bonneval ($4.80)
Held over 1,800 metres at Caulfield, the Underwood is one of the more interesting races during the spring carnival.
While usually being a great betting race, it also provides a useful form guide for the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate. Indeed, many Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate aspirants use the Underwood as a lead-up race.
The irregular distance of 1,800 metres adds to the intrigue of the Underwood.
A furlong longer than a mile, but also shorter than a mile and a quarter, the 1,800 metre start at Caulfield allows for a fairly long straight run before the horses and their jockeys hit the first turn. Therefore, horses that have drawn a wide barrier have a good chance of finding a spot close to the rail, provided the breaks come their way.
While the WFA race over 1,800 metres appears the natural lead-up race for the Cox Plate, the winner of the Underwood gains exemption from a ballot in the Caulfield Cup, which is run over 2,400 at the same track, typically three wakes later. Therefore, a dominant performance in the Underwood will often suggest that the horse has a good chance of running out the mile and a half of the Caulfield Cup.
A horse that made the Underwood his own was Ajax. This mighty stallion won back-to-back-to-back, taking out the 1938, 1939 and 1940 editions. Other Australian equine royalty including Phar Lap and Tobin Bronze have salted in the Underwood.
In the 2017 edition of the Underwood, it was Kiwi legend trainer Murray Baker who prepared Bonneval to perfection.
The New Zealand mare got the better of Hartnell and Gailo Chop with a barnstorming run down the centre of the track. To relive the win, watch below.