Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner Lucia Valentina and dual Group 1 winner Black Heart Bart head up the nominations for the Group 1 $500,000 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Sixteen gallopers have been nominated for the Underwood Stakes with Black Heart Bart one of four form the powerful Darren Weir stable.
Black Heart Bart is the winner of the Group 1 $500,000 Darley Goodwood (1200m) at Morphettville and the Group 1 $500,000 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield and will be stepping up to 1800m for the first time this preparation after finishing second to stablemate Palentino in the Group 1 $500,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 10.
Weir’s other nominations for the Underwood Stakes are South Australian Derby winner Howard Be Thy Name and Melbourne Cup hopefuls Prince Of Penzance and Signoff.
Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance caught the eye with a handy sixth in the Makybe Diva Stakes while Signoff is coming off a last start thirteenth to Awesome Rock in the Group 2 $250,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 3.
The Kris Lees trained Lucia Valentina has had one run back since winning the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 9, the second day of ‘The Championships’, and will head to Melbourne on the back of a first up fourth to Winx in the Group 2 $250,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on August 20.
Awesome Rock will get his chance to show that his win in the Group 2 $250,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 3 wasn’t a fluke and co-trainers Leon and Troy Corstens have entered the Fastnet Rock five year old for the Underwood stakes.
Our Ivanhowe raced up to his potential when he took out the Group 1 $650,000 Hardy Brothers Doomben Cup (2000m) at Doomben during the Brisbane Winter Carnival and now also gets his chance stepping up to the 1800m of the Underwood stakes.
The Lindsay Park Team of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig have nominated He Or She and Jacquinot Bay who are coming off a last start third and fourth in the Makybe Diva Stakes.
Caulfield trainer Mick Price is expecting vast improvement from Victoria Derby winner Tarzino when he steps out in the Underwood Stakes and the front running The Cleaner will ensure that there is a genuine pace from the outset.
Early market order for the Underwood Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.20 Black Heart Bart, $3.80 Lucia Valentina, $6.50 Our Ivanhowe, $9 Awesome Rock, $13 Tavago, $15 He Or She, $16 Tarzino, $21 Prince Of Penance, $26 Big Memory, Entirely Platinum, The Cleaner, $31 Jacquinot Bay, Signoff, $34 Howard Be Thy Name, $51 The Bandit, $201 Transfer Allowance.