The 2015 Underwood Stakes nominations have been released and Contributer is set to contest the Group 1 event that will be held at Caulfield on Saturday.
Contributer returned to racing with a flat fifth place finish in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 5 and he was originally set to go straight to the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4 in his final race start before the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), but O’Shea revealed last week that the two-time Group 1 winner will run in the Underwood Stakes on Saturday and contest the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 10 as his final Cox Plate lead-up race.
The Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes is set to be a key form reference to the Underwood Stakes and the winner The Cleaner is set to return to Group 1 level on Saturday.
The Cleaner returned to the races with a close second behind Mourinho in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 15 and he ran his rivals off his feet in the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes.
Mourinho produced an uncharacteristically poor performance in the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes, but he will have the chance to return to his best form in the Underwood Stakes, while Dibayani will step-up to 1800 metres after finishing third in both the P.B. Lawrence Stakes and the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes.
The other race that is set to be a key form guide for the Underwood Stakes is the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), which was won by Fawkner at Flemington on September 19.
Fawkner has been included in the 2015 Underwood Stakes nominations, but he is no certainty to contest the Group 1 race, but the likes of Dandino, Entirely Platinum, Hi World, Magicool, Mongolian Khan, Rising Romance, Volkstok’n’barrell and Weary are all set to back-up this weekend.
One horses that could take a different form line into the Underwood Stakes is Mick Price-trained Takenja, who made her Australian racing debut with a win over Burning Front and Bradman at Sandown on August 26.
Takenja made her racing debut in August of 2013 under the care of Melbourne Cup winning trainer Andreas Wohler and she joined the Price stable after she took out a Listed race in Cologne in Germany last year.
Chris Waller-trained Moriarty rounds out the Underwood Stakes nominations and connections are hopeful that the trip to Melbourne will help him return to a semblance of his best form after he failed to fire in both the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) on August 22 and the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) a fortnight later.