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2022 Underwood Stakes Runner By Runner Preview, Odds & Tips

It’s not often we get the thrill of Group 1 racing on a Sunday, but that’s the case this weekend with the running of the Underwood Stakes at Sandown Hillside. The $1m weight for age feature is held over 1800m and has been won by some champions of the turf including ‘Big Red’, Phar Lap, in 1931.

Last year’s Underwood winner, Zaaki, has come up favourite in this year’s small field with Dabble and is currently $2.50. Last start G1 winner, I’m Thunderstruck, is a $2.80 chance and in-form 5YO, Mr Brightside, is also well in commission at $4.40. Alligator Blood is next best at $7.50 and rounds out the winning hopes according to the market.

However, we know with horse racing that anything can happen and small fields throw up uncanny results time and time again. So, we have dissected each of the horses’ chances for you and provided our horse racing tips! Read on below to find our runner by runner preview of the 2022 Underwood Stakes along with The Shark’s best tips. 

1. Zaaki (5) – $2.50F
Jockey – Jamie Kah 59kg
Trainer – Annabel Neasham

Won this race last year in dominant fashion. Resumed this prep with a good win in the Tramway on heavy ground. Second up record is good and the 1800m suits him down to the ground. The one to beat.

2. I’m Thunderstruck (6) – $2.80
Jockey – Mark Zahra 59kg
Trainer – Mick Price & Michael Kent Jnr

Ran a huge race first up in the Memsie before coming from the clouds the last furlong to nail Alligator Blood on the line in the Makybe Diva last start. Should be ready to peak third up and the extra furlong should suit. Yes.

3. Alligator Blood (2) – $7.50
Jockey – Tim Clark 59kg
Trainer – Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott

Unlucky first up in the Memsie before leading everywhere bar the post in the Makybe Diva last start. Steps up to 1800m for the first time which looks a little query, but he’s racing well and has to be respected.

4. Mr Brightside (4) – $4.40
Jockey – Craig Williams 59kg
Trainer – Ben & JD Hayes

Doncaster winner at the end of last prep who resumed in fine style at Caulfield. Made mincemeat of them last start in the Feehan and is one from one here at Sandown. Should enjoy a nice run in the small field and will be looking to keep his unbeaten record going this prep before he tackles the Cox Plate. Key player.

5. Mo’unga (3) – $26
Jockey – Hugh Bowman 59kg
Trainer – Annabel Neasham

Didn’t have much luck first up at Randwick before a solid effort in the Makybe last start. Will get a soft run from the gate but needs to find a couple of lengths if he’s to beat the well fancied runners.

6. Nonconformist (1) – $71
Jockey – Jordan Childs 59kg
Trainer – Grahame Begg

Boxed on ok in the Memsie first up before a tiring 7th in the Makybe last start. Will be further improved third up and up to 1800m here but can’t have him on recent efforts.

Final Word

A small but strong field will line up in this year’s Underwood Stakes, with five of the six runners already G1 winners. As per usual in small fields, tactics will play a major role. Alligator Blood looks the likely leader with Zaaki and Mr Brightside to take a sit.

It’s hard not to be impressed with I’m Thunderstruck’s two runs this prep. He steps up to 1800m for the first time here and should appreciate the long Sandown straight. He will have to be on song to run down Zaaki and Mr Brightside, but if he’s close enough at the furlong I think he can do just that.

Mr Brightside is racing in red hot form after annihilating his rivals in the Feehan last start. There’s more depth here but he will roll forward and take plenty of running down.

Last year’s winner, Zaaki, resumed with a dominant win in the Tramway and skipped the George Main last week to be saved for this. Although I haven’t got him on top, he’s clearly the horse they have to run down and whatever beats him will win the race.

Alligator Blood is racing well but the 1800m is a query and Mo’unga shouldn’t be far away, but it’s hard to see them troubling the top three in the market as we edge closer to this year’s Cox Plate.

Underwood Stakes TipLogo

2. I’m Thunderstruck – Win ($2.80)

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*Odds correct at time of writing, courtesy of Dabble.

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2021 Underwood Stakes Runner By Runner Preview, Odds & Tips

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!

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.

Final Word

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.