Matt Williams believes the Underwood Stakes is an even race, barring the presence of one horse – Russian Camelot.
Williams has the distinction of being the only trainer with two runners in the Group One event on Saturday with the emerging prospect Harbour Views and veteran Gailo Chop.
He is upbeat about the prospects of Harbour Views but thinks rival and odds-on favourite Russian Camelot has the potential to be a star.
“If Russian Camelot wasn’t in the race, I’d say it’s a really even weight-for-age race but I think we’ve got to find a couple of lengths to be able to beat him,” Williams said.
“Arcadia Queen is also a class horse who looks to be back in form.”
Williams said he can see Russian Camelot following Harbour Views into the race and then being able to outsprint him.
However, he was pleased with the OTI Racing-owned galloper’s first-up third in the Feehan Stakes behind Humidor at Moonee Valley.
“With 200 metres to go I thought he could win,” Williams said.
“There’s not really any excuses but he ended up close to the fence which was the choppier part of the track.
“If (jockey) John Allen had got one off (the fence) around the corner it might have made a difference but I was happy with the run.”
Williams said Harbour Views would have to run well in the 1800m Caulfield feature to consider going on to the Cox Plate.
“He’s going really well and I think he’s going to be in the placings but he’ll need some luck, I think, to beat Russian Camelot,” Williams said.
He also believes Gailo Chop can run a cheeky race if he can dictate the speed and lead at a slow tempo.
The 10-year-old is coming off an unplaced run in the Makybe Diva Stakes but he also finished down the track in the Group One last year before rebounding to run third to Black Heart Bart in the 2019 Underwood.
Williams is looking at running both Gailo Chop and Harbour Views in the Caulfield Stakes and then taking them to Perth for the Railway Stakes and Kingston Town Classic later in the year .