The 97th Underwood Stakes Fact Sheet

Form Focus Fact Sheet

The 97th Underwood Stakes

1800m / Group 1 / Weight for age / First run: 1924

The Underwood Stakes was first staged on Saturday, August 23, 1924, conducted by the Williamstown Racing Club. Called the Williamstown Stakes (8 furlongs), the race was the first ever WFA event programmed by the Club, run at their seaside Williamstown course.

Top class 5yo Whittier (Frank Dempsey) was the inaugural winner. Whittier had already acquired the 1922 Caulfield Cup and Victoria Derby and the 1924 Doncaster Handicap. Runner-up in the Cox Plate of 1923 & 1924, Whittier also won the second edition of this race (1925) on his way to a historic second Caulfield Cup victory.

Trained by Harry McCalman and owned by Ben Chaffey, Whittier had the same connections involved with another superstar of the 1920’s in Manfred.

Re-named the Underwood Stakes in 1926, the race distance has been variously 8, 9 & 10 furlongs before settling at 1800m in 1994. Staged at Caulfield since 1948, the honour roll contains Phar Lap, (Ajax x3), Heroic, Tobin Bronze, Hall Mark (x2), Rain Lover, Aquanita (x2), Bonecrusher, So You Think, Gay Icarus, Northerly (x2) & Octagonal.

Ken Hilton & Jack Holt share the trainers record with 7 wins, ahead of Bart Cummings (6). Murray Baker, Lee Freedman & Colin Hayes have all trained 4 Underwood winners.

Leading rider on 5 winners is Harold Badger, he partnered with Ajax (1938/1939/1940), Sun Valley (1941) & Attley (1946). Billy Duncan, Danny Nikolic, Jack Purtell, Brent Thomson & Harry White are next on 4 wins.

Profile

YEAR T/R WINNER TRAINER JOCKEY A/S OR SP
2019 G3-6M BLACK HEART BART L SMITH B RAWILLER 9G 106 $101
2018 G3-TRUE HOMESMAN L HOWLEY B MELHAM 5G 105 $5
2017 G3-TRUE BONNEVAL TEAM BAKER H BOWMAN 4M 108 $4.40.
2016 G3-TRUE BLACK HEART BART D WEIR B RAWILLER 6G 114 $2.20F
2015 G3-TRUE MOURINHO P GELAGOTIS V DURIC 8G 109 $18
2014 G3-9M FORETELLER C WALLER G BOSS 7G 112 $6.50.
2013 S6-9M IT'S A DUNDEEL M BAKER J MCDONALD 4H 116 $7.50.
2012 G3-9M OCEAN PARK G HENNESSY G BOSS 4H 106 $8
2011 G3-10M LION TAMER M BAKER M RODD 4H 110 $16
2010 G3-TRUE SO YOU THINK J B CUMMINGS S ARNOLD 4H 118 $1.75F

T/R: (Track/Rail):

Rail is again in the 6m spot this year. Note: wet ground only once (2013).

Trainers:

Baker (4) has a most decent Underwood record – The Phantom (1990) his firs winner. Waller, Smith & Gelagotis have all had a prior winner. Lindsay Park has 5 (Colin-4, David-1), but zero since 1994 (Jeune).

Jockeys:

Only Oliver is a prior winner – Northerly (2001). Overall, Olly has had 23 Underwood rides for 1-5-5 & has ridden 7 favourites for just one win (Northerly)

A/S (Age & Sex):

Bonneval was the first mare to score since Tristarc (1985) – just 4 other mares have won the Underwood. 62 mares have contested this race (since it became 1800m in 1994), Bonneval the only success

OR (Official Handicap Rating):

Homesman (105) is our lowest rated winner, So You Think (118) the highest. Recent trends do favour the established class runner

Punting

YEAR WINNER BR FIELD SP FAV SP FAV FP
2019 BLACK HEART BART 6 12 $101 HOMESMAN $2.50F 2ND
2018 HOMESMAN 5 9 $5 GRUNT $3.40. 6TH
2017 BONNEVAL 3 8 $4.40. HARTNELL $2.10F 2ND
2016 BLACK HEART BART 6 10 $2.20F BLACK HEART BART $2.20F 1ST
2015 MOURINHO 4 12 $18 FAWKNER $3.40F 2ND
2014 FORETELLER 2 10 $6.50. SILENT ACHIEVER $3.40F 5TH
2013 IT'S A DUNDEEL 12 14 $7.50. ATLANTIC JEWEL $1.60F 2ND
2012 OCEAN PARK 5 14 $8 MANIGHAR $2F 6TH
2011 LION TAMER 6 14 $16 LIGHTS OF HEAVEN $4.80F 9TH
2010 SO YOU THINK 2 11 $1.75F SO YOU THINK $1.75F 1ST

Barriers:

Nothing of consequence regarding barrier stats. A small field (10) again in 2020.

SP (Favourite):

20% strike-rate is a below par return over the last 10 years. Overall, 33 of 96 favourites have won (34.3%), and since 1994 (1800m editions) just 6 favourites have scored. Being odds-on no guarantee of success either – 3 of 6 winning since 1994.

Longshots:

Black Heart Bart last year broke all the records, scoring at $101. In 2007, Rubiscent won at $41.

Hotpots:

In 1939, Ajax landed his second Underwood, starting 1/6f. Syntax was 1/4f when scoring in 1957. 14 odds-on favourites have won over the 96 runnings

Performance

YEAR WINNER A/S OR LAST START L3 NEXT RACE
2019 BLACK HEART BART 9G 106 11th Rupert Clarke 8-11. 2nd Caul Stks
2018 HOMESMAN 5G 105 2nd Feehan 2 7th Caul Stks
2017 BONNEVAL 4M 108 1st Feehan 1 6th Caul Stks
2016 BLACK HEART BART 6G 114 2nd Makybe Diva 1-2. 2nd Caul Stks
2015 MOURINHO 8G 109 6th Feehan 1-6. 12th Cox Plate
2014 FORETELLER 7G 112 3rd Feehan 4-3. 8th Caul Stk
2013 IT'S A DUNDEEL 4H 116 4th Memsie 4 8th Cox Plate
2012 OCEAN PARK 4H 106 1st NZ Makfi 1 1st Caul Stks
2011 LION TAMER 4H 110 4th NZ Makfi 4 8th Caul Stks
2010 SO YOU THINK 4H 118 1st Memsie 1 1st Caul Stks

Last Start:

Plenty of variety of successful lead-in options over the decade. 50% of the winners via 1400m, the other 50% via a 1600m lead-up.

L3 (Last 3 Starts):

Second-up is the slightly superior recipe (6) over third-up (4). Black Heart Bart (a previous Underwood winner) was hard to recommend, based on recent form

Next Race:

Worth noting here that only Ocean Park and So You Think won their next race (Caulfield Stakes) – both went on to win the Cox Plate.

Pros & Cons

Negative:

With Ajax (1940) the most recent Underwood winner to score fresh, Trap for Fools would produce a major shock if he won. Harbour Views & Levendi tick the second-up box but do come up short on their OR, (99) & (104) respectively.

Beware:

The Feehan-Underwood double has been completed just 3 times (by a male) – Northerly (2001), Rubiton (1987) & So Called (1978) – these 3 also then landed the Cox Plate. The rejuvenated Humidor faces this challenge.

Positive:

The race does appear to revolve around the intriguing Russian Camelot and Memsie runner-up Mr Quickie. Both have made superb returns to the racetrack, Behemoth franking the Mr Quickie Memsie form-line in impressively taking the G1 Rupert Clarke Stks last Saturday.

The Underwood favourite has under-performed (for whatever reason) and combined with Oliver’s underwhelming record in this race, Russian Camelot could well be a risky proposition. We shall pin ourselves marginally to Mr Quickie this time, but Russian Camelot will prove tough to overcome.

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