Twelve runners remain in contention for Saturday’s feature race at Caulfield following the release of the 2015 Underwood Stakes final field and barrier draw; highlighted by the inclusion of several previous winners at the highest level of racing.
Fawkner returned to racing for an impressive win in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) a fortnight ago and has been confirmed for a second-up start in the 2015 Underwood Stakes field; offered an exceptional chance of a fifth title at the highest level from barrier 2.
Winner of the 2013 Caulfield Cup, Fawkner returned in 2014 for a close second in the Makybe Diva Stakes before charging home to take out the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 11th.
Progressing to a close second in the Cox Plate, the Reset gelding has been set on a similar path this year, with the noted addition of a run in the Underwood Stakes.
Champion hoop Damien Oliver has been confirmed to retain the ride on Macedon Lodge’s stable star and will relish a step-up to 1800m for the Underwood Stakes.
The 2015 Underwood Stakes will undoubtedly be contested at break-neck speed after trainer Mick Burles confirmed The Cleaner in the final field on Wednesday, who is sure to have no issue finding the fore of the field from the outside after claiming the rails draw.
The Cleaner returned this year for a close second in the Listed George Adams Plate (1600m) in his native Tasmania before running a pleasing fourth in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m).
Having returned this time for a close second in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) before gaining ballot-free entry into the Cox Plate with success in the Group 2 Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) for the second-consecutive year, the Savoire Vivre gelding will be partnered by ideal hoop Noel Callow and will take some beating on Saturday.
Contributer clearly needed the run and was not used to the Moonee Valley conditions when fifth in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes first up but is sure to have taken plenty of benefit from the hit-out ahead of the Underwood Stakes.
A standout for Godolphin and John O’Shea through autumn, the High Chaparral entire charged home to win the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) first-up before posting consecutive wins in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m).
Kiwi raiders Mongolian Khan and Volkstok’N’Barrell will also enjoy a step-up to 1800m for the 2015 Underwood Stakes and are drawn well in barriers three and seven respectively.
Mongolian Khan charged home to win the Group 1 New Zealand Derby (2400m) during his autumn preparation and franked his form when crossing the Tasman for success in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) on Day 1 of The Championships.
Volkstok’n’Barrell was also a standout through the three-year-old New Zealand ranks and crossed for success in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) during the 2015 Autumn Carnival.
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