Feature Race Preview September 22

Underwood Stakes (MR7) – Manighar was unlucky to finish second behind Southern Speed on his reappearance in the Makybe Diva Stakes a fortnight ago, but can turn the tables on her in this race. The imported galloper was blocked for a run for a long way up the straight but finished powerfully when he got clear running to finish just a nice behind last year’s Caulfield Cup winner. Sincero was a dominant winner of the Memsie Stakes last time out and warrants respect, although he is unproven over this trip. The wide draw may be a blessing in disguise, giving Michael Walker no choice but to settle back in the field and be saved for one sharp sprint. Mawingo did nothing in the Makybe Diva Stakes but deserves another chance based on his strong winter form in Brisbane, while December Draw is another that can improve on his run in that race. First up for 11 months at Flemington, he was strong to the line and he should strip much fitter now. Ocean Park won a group one in New Zealand last time out but the strong of that form has to be questioned.
Selections: Manighar, Southern Speed, Mawingo, Sincero 

George Main Stakes (SR6) – A small but select field will contest the first group one of the new season for older horses in Sydney, with six of the eight runners already winners at the highest level. The small field will probably mean that tactics will play a big part in the outcome of the race and there are no jockeys riding better in Sydney than Hugh Bowman at the moment. He is aboard Shoot Out, who raced consistently well in the autumn and won a similar race to this in the Chipping Norton Stakes at Warwick Farm. He excels over this trip and has had two barrier trials in preparation for a big first up showing. All Too Hard has failed to flatter in either of his two reappearance runs but trialled well and gets a big weight concession from his elders. If he can jump well he will be in the finish. Danleigh and Secret Admirer ran the quinella in the Chelmsford Stakes a fortnight ago and look closely matched again in this event.
Selections: Shoot Out, All Too Hard, Danleigh, Secret Admirer 

Naturalism Stakes (MR8) – This year’s renewal of the Naturalism Stakes looks to be a strong one, with numerous emerging stayers trying to force their way into the Caulfield Cup, by winning the race. New Zealand Oaks runner-up Zurella is one of those and she looks well placed stepping up to 2000m here following a powerful win over 1400m two weeks ago. Trainer Shaun Ritchie has long regarded her as a top class galloper and she can repay his faith in her by collecting the $90,000 winner’s cheque. Cuban Sunday beat several of these in the Slickpix Stakes here three weeks ago, but may struggle to affirm that form this time around. Mr O’Ceirin was strong to the line in that race after sitting on the hot pace, while Folding Gear didn’t get any luck in the straight when he appeared to be full of running. Shenzhou Steeds wasn’t beaten far against some of the best gallopers in the country at his last start and will appreciate the step up to 200m.
Selections: Zurella, Mr O’Ceirin, Shenzhou Steeds, Folding Gear

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