The Caulfield Cup picture should be a little clearer after Saturday
17 Sep 2012 | The BMW Caulfield Cup picture should be a little clearer after this Saturday with the running of the $400,000 Group 1 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) and $150,000 Group 3 D’Urban Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield.
Both races offer a ballot exemption into the world’s richest 2400-metre turf handicap on 20 October and have both attracted outstanding nominations for a meeting that offers free admission and doubles as the official start of the 2012 Spring Racing Carnival.
In the weight for age Underwood Stakes, Caulfield Cup nominees Southern Speed, Manighar, December Draw, Maluckyday, Mawingo, Mourayan, Sanagas and Niwot are engaged, with some connections to determine whether the Cup or Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) a week prior at Moonee Valley is the more suitable target after Saturday’s feature.
Last year’s Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed resumes her hostilities with Manighar, after the South Australian mare avenged her Australian Cup defeat with victory over Peter Moody’s imported gelding in the G2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington last start.
Adding depth to the Underwood, which boasts 23 nominations, is Sincero, who impressively won the NZ Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield last start defeating subsequent Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes winner Happy Trails.
Like Sincero, high class New Zealand visitor Ocean Park, a last start Group 1 winner in his homeland, will use the Underwood as a stepping stone to the $3 million Cox Plate on 27 October.
In the Naturalism Stakes an array of horses will be trying to beat the ballot and win their way into the Cup. Amongst those that would be benefit from the ballot exemption are Fruehling, Lamasery, Polish Knight, Moudre, Mr O’Ceirin, Sea Galleon, Shenzhou Steeds, Shewan and Zurella.
Another highlight on a quality card of racing is the Group 3 Sportingbet Sprint Series Heat 2 (1200m) for the mares, which includes four time Group 1-winning mare Mosheen as well as last year’s Group 1 Myer Classic winner Hurtle Myrtle among its 32 nominations.
The Group 3 Schweppes Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) for the fillies has attracted 17 entries, headlined by the three-quarter sister to Atlantic Jewel and nominal Guineas favourite Commanding Jewel, as well as the Robert Smerdon trained pair Bloomingdale Miss and Members Joy, the latter raced by all the Melbourne Racing Club members.
Acceptances will be taken for the Underwood Stakes at 8.30am (AET) on Wednesday with the barrier draw conducted live on RSN shortly thereafter. Acceptances for all other races will close at 10am with the fields released later in the morning.