Puissance De Lune was the big loser in the barrier draw for the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m), with the 2013 Melbourne Cup favourite drawing the outside gate of the fourteen horse field.
The 2013 Underwood Stakes will be run at Caulfield this Saturday and is set to be a dress rehearsal for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) with the majority of Australia’s leading weight-for-age horses included in the final field.
Puissance De Lune will be having his second start at Group 1 level, after finishing second in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington a fortnight ago, and jockey Glen Boss will likely be forced to ride the son of Shamardal towards the tail of the field after the poor draw.
Odds-on favourite Atlantic Jewel drew ideally in barrier seven and will have the opportunity to extend her unbeaten streak to ten straight wins on Saturday.
The Fastnet Rock mare is on a quick back-up, after scoring the easiest of victories in the Group 2 Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley last Saturday; with trainer Mark Kavanagh believing that the five-year-old needs another run under her belt as she continues to build towards the Cox Plate.
Happy Trails was also included in the final field for the Underwood Stakes, and will jump from barrier four, after being withdrawn from the Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1400m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
The Paul Beshara-trained gelding was set to defend his title in the Group 2 event but stewards ordered that he be scratched from the race after receiving evidence that the six-year-old may have been treated on race day.
Beshara has denied the allegations and is going about his business as usual with Happy Trails and attempting to get the 2012 Emirates Stakes winner ready for the Cox Plate.
Three-year-old Triple Crown winner It’s A Dundeel (barrier 12) and star Western Australian galloper Mr Moet (barrier thirteen) also had their Underwood Stakes chance dented by the barrier draw while the Peter Moody-trained duo of My Quest For Peace (barrier two) and Manighar (barrier three) have drawn ideally.
Robert Hickmott is the only other trainer with two horses in the race, with Green Moon (barrier 10) and Sea Moon (barrier five) both included in the field.
The star-studded 2013 Underwood Stakes final field is rounded out by Ethiopia (barrier one), Foreteller (barrier 11), Waldpark (barrier nine), Dear Demi (barrier six) and Silent Achiever (barrier 8).