THE PUNTING MONOLOGUE "AUSTRALIAN GUINEAS SPECIAL LISTEN

2022 Underwood Stakes Runner By Runner preview

Different track, Small field, Big names! A six horse field at Sandown for The Underwood Stakes over 1800 metres on the better side of a soft track, and shapes as a mouth-watering encounter of stars.

Zaaki returns in the hope of going back to back in The Underwood after a big first up win.  He loves the 1800m and a soft track is no problem for him. He boasts good second up form, and can go up and lead with Alligator Blood who will most likely be the other horse setting speed in the race. If this elite athlete gets his way he will be very hard to beat.

I’m Thunderstruck was massive when reeling in Alligator Blood in the Makybe Diva.  He has never run over the 1800m or at Sandown, but has had success at greater distances.  He’ll get back but will be storming home, and is hard to hold out of this contest in the red hot form he’s in.

Alligator Blood will be given every possible up in front.  He was very brave at Flemington, just getting beat and will once again be competitive here.  He’s never been to Sandown and hasn’t run further than 1600m which is some concern for me.  Regardless of that he is a horse than improves into his prep, Gai will have him ready again – and he should be able to stick on for a top 4 finish.

Mr Brightside is on the pathway to the Cox Plate after his Feehan win and will be stalking the pace here.  First time further than 1600m but should thrive with an extra furlong, and has a win at Sandown on his CV.  This race is tougher however, he is the other obvious top 3 hope.

Mo’unga returned to form at Flemington and will be required to step up here yet again to be the winner.  Gets the services of Hugh Bowman and does rise in distance, but just think the four above are in another level of class. One for the first 4 players.

Nonconformist has been brave both first and second up but is still looking for further.  Rises in trip to a range where he has placed but in much weaker grade than this elite company.  Will be doing his best work late and will be watched through the line for futures markets in the Caulfield Cup or Cox Plate where he will be better suited.

On top hope here is I’m Thunderstruck, I think that run in the Makybe Diva was huge and could be primed for this.  Of course, the danger is Zaaki and think the best way to play this will be a boxed trifecta with the two top weights.  I’m taking Alligator Blood to hang on for third and Mr Brightside for fourth.

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