Alligator Blood is back on the short turnaround this weekend and is favourite to return to winning form in the Group 1 $750,000 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield.
The Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott-trained seven-year-old presents fit third-up and ready to fire on Saturday having finished a brave second to the Ladbrokes Cox Plate-bound Mr Brightside in last weekend’s Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).
Mr Brightside is the form horse of the season and that form is expected to franked in the Underwood Stakes 2023 by the Gator.
Alligator Blood won the Underwood Stakes last year when the showdown ran at Sandown-Hillside.
He is tipped to go back-to-back back up to 1800m and sits top of Underwood Stakes betting at $3.60 through Ladbrokes.
Damien Oliver continues associations with the favourite in gate eight with Alligator Blood looking a deserving and hard to beat favourite on the up and up.
Five of his rivals are also at single-figure Underwood Stakes odds including one-time favourite Without A Fight ($5.50) in gate 11.
The Anthony & Sam Freedman-trained import has the spring cups in his sights once more having run 13th for Simon & Ed Crisford as a raider in last year’s Melbourne Cup.
He has had two starts for his new stable with the galloper going back-to-back in Brisbane during the winter.
His latest start produced a nearly two length victory in the Group 2 $1.2 million The Q22 (2200m) back on June 10.
Without A Fight looked strong in a recent Cranbourne trial win and is not without support first-up over the 1800m.
Next best in betting is Lindsey Smith’s early market mover Tuvalu ($8.50 into $7) drawn wider out in gate 13 for jockey Jamie Kah.
The Kermadec six-year-old is third-up for the spring having run fourth fresh to Mr Brightside in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) before heading to The Valley when third under a length off Pinstriped in the Group 2 Feehan Stakes (1600m).
He was a half-length off Alligator Blood last Melbourne Cup Carnival when second in the Group 1 Champions Mile (1600m) which came on the back of his Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) win at Caulfield.
Tuvalu hasn’t been out over further than a mile in over two years, but at his only other 1800m run back in August of 2021 he carried 60.5kg to a 2.75 length win suggesting he can get the distance without a worry on the weekend.
Following closely at an equal quote of $7.50 each are the Chris Waller-trained Soulcombe and the Mitchell Freedman-trained Attrition drawn in barriers five and 15 respectively.
Frankel five-year-old Soulcombe has the confidence of a last start win heading into the Underwood having won the Listed Heatherlie Handicap (1700m) here first-up on September 2.
He carted 58.5kg that day, has international winning form up to 2787m and so should appreciate the extra distance here second-up at weight-for-age.
Attrition meanwhile was runner-up in the Feehan last time out with last year’s Group 1 Australian Guineas runner-up out over 1800m for the first time on Saturday.
Rounding out the hopes under $10 for the win at $9.50 is another from the Waller stable with the reigning Group 1 Rosehill Guineas winning Lindermann drawn well in gate three for jockey Hugh Bowman.
The 2023 Live Life Foundation Underwood Stakes is set to run as Caulfield Race 9 at 4:55pm (AEST) on Saturday’s 10-race card.
2023 Underwood Stakes Field & Barriers
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Probable Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||601x22460x||VOW AND DECLARE||Danny O’Brien||Billy Egan||4||59kg||106|
|2||551x140x42||ALLIGATOR BLOOD||Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott||Damien Oliver||8||59kg||116|
|3||52x5332x00||MO’UNGA (NZ)||Annabel Neasham||Jamie Mott||17||59kg||111|
|4||70x18402x0||NONCONFORMIST||Grahame Begg||Harry Coffey||6||59kg||106|
|5||x312x79x43||TUVALU||Lindsey Smith||Ms Jamie Kah||13||59kg||111|
|6||1177x884x6||SMOKIN’ ROMANS (NZ)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||John Allen||14||59kg||108|
|7||616x69x00x||ALENQUER (FR)||Michael Moroney||Declan Bates||10||59kg||113|
|8||311x20x11x||WITHOUT A FIGHT (IRE)||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Mark Zahra||11||59kg||111|
|9||51111121×2||RIGHT YOU ARE||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ben Allen||2||59kg||106|
|10||41x1x682x1||SOULCOMBE (GB)||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||5||59kg||106|
|11||52x131x8x0||DUKE DE SESSA (IRE)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ethan Brown||16||59kg||105|
|12||18x27410x8||BANK MAUR||Richard Laming||Jye McNeil||1||58kg||99|
|13||2x51210x04||LINDERMANN||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||3||58kg||106|
|14||33x1152x52||ATTRITION||Mitchell Freedman||Ben Melham||15||58kg||103|
|15||6880x43x79||DUAIS||Edward Cummings||Craig Williams||7||57kg||112|
|16||612x7931x8||LUNAR FLARE||Grahame Begg||Michael Dee||12||57kg||107|
|17e||x60847x725||ALASKAN GOD||Daniel Morton||9||59kg||92|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.