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Spring is certainly in full swing with the raging Cox Plate favourite Zaaki making the trip down to Melbourne to contest the 2021 Underwood Stakes.
However, Zaaki’s presence has scared away some of his rivals, with just five runners set to line up in the $1 million Group 1 contest, similar to when rivals would avoid running against the great Winx a few years ago.
Small fields and short priced favourites can sometimes throw up odd results, let’s take a look at each and every runner in the 2021 Underwood Stakes and find some value!
1. Fifty Stars (1) – $31
Jockey – John Allen
Trainer – Tom Dabernig
He will enjoy the wide-open expanses of Sandown, but it’s been a long time between drinks for Fifty Stars, winless since his 2020 Australian Cup triumph. Hasn’t returned well this prep, and this looks out of his weight division on current form.
2. Zaaki (3) – $1.30
Jockey – Craig Williams
Trainer – Annabel Neasham
Arguably the best horse in Australia lines up here after an impressive Brisbane Winter Carnival, and a first up demolition job of his rivals in the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m). Williams is in hot form and should be able to handle any quirks the small field may throw his way, and all things being equal Zaaki should win comfortably. It is just a question of price here, with the $1.30 a prohibitive quote unless you have a massive bankroll!
“This is a demolition job in the Tramway!”
— SKY Racing (@SkyRacingAU) September 4, 2021
3. The Chosen One (5) – $19
Jockey – Damien Lane
Trainer – Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman
Ultra consistent staying type who performed exceptionally well last spring, placing in the Caulfield Cup and running fourth in the Melbourne Cup, at monster odds on both occasions. Resumed really well in the Feehan Stakes and is certainly worth following this spring, but this looks a step too far against one of the best Weight For Age horses in the country.
4. Superstorm (4) – $12
Jockey – Damien Oliver
Trainer – Danny O’Brien
Flew home late on the rail to win by the smallest of margins in the Feehan Stakes and book a place in the Cox Plate. Is one of the bigger dangers here and possesses a devastating turn of foot, but you have to wonder how much intent to win there is, knowing that there are bigger fish to fry in the Cox Plate. Worth including in exotics.
5. Probabeel (2) – $5.50
Jockey – Brett Prebble
Trainer – Jamie Richards
Was stuck in the inferior ground during the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, where she battled on gamely even though she never threatened. She is helped by a return to Weight For Age racing, but it is a bit of an unknown where she’s at after failing last start, as admitted by trainer Jamie Richards. At her best she could threaten, but she has been set a mighty big task here against Zaaki.
Zaaki looks incredibly hard to beat here, with the Cox Plate favourite looking to map forward and possibly lead by default, taking bad luck out of the equation. Craig Williams rode four winners at Flemington during the week and is in hot form, and will be able to handle any quirks that a small field may present.
The only issue with Zaaki is the incredibly skinny $1.30 price on offer… you would have to have a large betting bank to extract much out of that quote! It’s certainly an automatic leg to include in your multis across the weekend.
In terms of finding some value in the race, we would look to play a Quinella or an Exacta with Zaaki and Superstorm, who looks to be the most in-form rival in the field. His win in the Feehan Stakes was impressive, and the step up to 1800m will suit en route to the Cox Plate. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy the Zaaki show!
Best Underwood Stakes Tip: Exacta: 2 (Zaaki) / 4 (Superstorm)
There is more Group One racing happening this weekend! If you want to check out our Runner-By-Runner analysis of the Moir Stakes, click here! If you want a preview of the talented three-year-olds contesting the Golden Rose, click here!
If you need more news, information and predictions, head over to our Underwood Stakes page for all your punting needs!
*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of Sportsbet.