Leading jockey Craig Williams is confident that highly-rated imported stayer Sea Moon will be a different horse when he takes part in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Sea Moon was well backed in the lead-up to his Australian racing debut in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington just under a fortnight ago but stumbled badly at the start and finished towards the tail of the field.
The Beat Hollow entire sprawled jumping out of the barriers, losing his footing on all four legs, and he did well just to finish the race.
Sea Moon pulled up sore after the run but, luckily, suffered no long-lasting damage and Williams is confident that the five-year-old will show the Australian racing public what he is capable of in the Underwood Stakes this weekend.
“Hopefully he steps away cleaner than he did in his first start in Australia,” Williams told RSN.
“When he jumped he blunded very badly and nearly dislodged me and nearly fell over himself.
“His run was still very good considering what happened at the start.
“Obviously he came out of it unscathed and that is why he is here in the Underwood.
“I know on his form the type of racehorse that is he is and I’m pretty sure that you will see a different horse come Saturday.”
Sea Moon has been included in the nominations for the Metropolitan Handicap (2400m), Caulfield Cup (2400m), Cox Plate (2040m) and Melbourne Cup (3200m), with his Melbourne Cup chances receiving a boost yesterday when he was only allocated 56.5kg by Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter.
Because of his stellar performances in Europe, especially his dominant victory over a star-studded field in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes (2414m), a number of racing experts believed that the five-year-old was treated lightly by Carpenter but he defended the handicap on Twitter yesterday.
“Balance between his high mark in Hardwicke and well beaten third behind Masked Marvel and Brown Panther in St Leger,” Carpenter posted.
Sea Moon is aiming to join Rain Lover (1969) and Jeune (1994) as the only horses to have completed the Underwood Stakes/Melbourne Cup double.