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Underwood Stakes preview

The action hots up every week in Melbourne through to the Melbourne Cup with most racing enthusiasts salivating at possibly the strongest WFA field in decades tomorrow at Caulfield. Can the nation's latest super mare, Atlantic Jewel, live up to the hype? This is the race to prove it, surely the Cox Plate can't get much tougher than this.

Saddling up to provide the preview for the blog is Melbourne form specialist, media identity and ranter extraordinaire, Racetrack Ralphy. Download his iPhone app for his astute race analysis including all-important speed maps or subscribe via his website, RacetrackRalphy.

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Race 9 - Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes

Race Time:4:55pm
Track:Slow
Weather:Showers
Distance:1800m
Race Overview
Basic numbers: 12-11-7-8

ATLANTIC JEWEL is the headline act and the new superstar of Australian racing, but today tells exactly what she's got under the bonnet as a serious Cox Plate chance. Around Caulfield and over 1800 she has to be favourite, but there are two world class middle distance horses in SEA MOON (definitely) and IT'S A DUNDEEL (my opinion) taking her on and as such, the gap in the market is too big for mine. PUISSANCE DE LUNE was flat out plain last start when just beaten. Will he improve? Most probably. Is he under the odds on that run? Definitely.

Suggested bet: I'm going small outlay on two to beat the favourite. 3 win units (lock in $10:00) IT'S A DUNDEEL and 2 win units SEA MOON.



1 - Green Moon - Brett Prebble • Robert Hickmott (10) 59kg
Powered home first up here behind ATLANTIC JEWEL and should be doing similar here. Disappointed the market 2nd up last prep in the Australian Cup, but probably was unable to cope with the high pressure early in the race? This likely more moderate tempo should suit better, and he'll again be hard late

2 - Manighar - Daniel Stackhouse • Peter G Moody (3) 59kg
Was just ok in the Makybe but perhaps that's what he's now become? This race probably decides what he's got left as he should get the gun run, but he hasn't won since April 2012.

3 - Mr Moet - Damien Oliver • Adam Durrant (13) 59kg
Went forward in what turned out to be a better speed than expected in the MAKYBE and unsurprisingly knocked up. Oliver replaces Staeck which is significant, but the outside alley again presents a challenges.

4 - Foreteller - Craig Newitt • Chris Waller (11) 59kg
Proved that he's brought his standard to a new level with a nose win over PUISSANCE DE LUNE last start (as predicted here without having the guts to do so properly...) and the extra 200 is no problem. With the right run, he can again be in the placings, though this is up another level.

5 - Happy Trails - Dwayne Dunn • Paul Beshara (4) 59kg
Was a late scratching last week on suspicions of raceday treatment, and I was risking him on the day in that race off just an average run here behind ATLANTIC JEWEL. I want to see him return to a genuine sign of his best before following him again.

6 - Ethiopia - Rhys McLeod • Pat Carey (1) 59kg
Had a soft run first up and it was ok, but not enough to expect vast improvement here.

7 - Sea Moon - Craig Williams • Robert Hickmott (5) 59kg $12:00
Is seriously scary and can win this. He was nice and strong in the market for his Australian debut, but splayed his legs at the start and the run can be totally forgiven. There is no way he would be risked if the camp wasn't happy with him since, and such is his world class ability, he's worth specking for mine.

8 - Puissance de Lune - Glen Boss • Darren Weir (14) 59kg $21:00
Was ok last start when picked off late by FORETELLER after being exposed at the top of the straight and being stalked by the winner. His Grand Final is still 6 weeks away and while he'll improve again, he does need to in this hot field.

9 - Waldpark - Ben Melham • Anthony Freedman (9) 59kg
Was ok first up for his Australian debut without much market love. He'll improve again but off that being deep in the finish would surprise.

10 - My Quest for Peace Luke Nolen • Peter G Moody (2) 59kg
Was plain first up behind ATLANTIC JEWEL with the biggest mystery being why Moody persists with him. Clearly he is showing something on the track, as the trainer hardly needs to fill a box!

11 - It's a Dundeel - James McDonald • Murray Baker (12) 58kg $7:00
Is a superstar getting out to this distance range and the super strong market support first up indicated that the market isn't afraid of ATLANTIC JEWEL with him, but the inside barrier meant he was unable to unwind into his paralysing sprint. Here from the outside alley that won't be a problem and he'll be powering home late. Too late? Possibly. But at the odds I want to be on him.

12 - Atlantic Jewel - Michael Rodd • Mark Kavanagh (7) 57kg $1:75
Taught us nothing last week with her Moonee Valley trackwork for $134,000. She showed her typically world class turn of foot when asked, but then Rodd understandably shut her down late. The reality of the data is that she didn't break 12 seconds in either win. Is she vulnerable late? Here she'll again put it on show on the home turn, but at 1800, both SEA MOON and IT'S A DUNDEEL start to come into their own. I've got her top pick, but would love to be alive in the quaddie with the other two as well!

13 Silent Achiever - Steven Arnold • Roger James (8) 57kg
Had no room last start so the run wasn't an indication of her - very good - ability. She won the MV Group 2 mile 2nd up last spring but this is another level.

14 - Dear Demi - Brad Rawiller • Clarry Conners (6) 56kg
Powered home from too far back behind COMMANDING JEWEL and most years would be a chance in a race like this. However the depth of the race means she isn't in the market, but everything going right for her and a couple of things wrong for others could see her place without surprise.

You can also follow Ralph on @rtralphy

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