The New Zealand Bloodstock Caulfield WFA Championship continues with the third leg, Sunday’s A$750,000 Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield, which has drawn an outstanding field with global Group 1 credentials.
The early favourites are the New Zealand-breds Humidor (NZ) (Teofilo) and Grunt (NZ) (O’Reilly), who have scored impressive Group 1 victories this spring in the New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) and Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) respectively.
The pair have traded blows in their spring rivalry, with Grunt finishing eighth behind Humidor in the Memsie and Humidor finishing seventh as the $220,000 Premier Sale graduate Grunt scored his second career Group 1 win in the Makybe Diva.
The field also features the defending champion Bonneval (NZ) (Makfi), another Karaka graduate and a two-time New Zealand Horse of the Year.
From further afield, Godolphin’s British trainer Charlie Appleby will saddle Blair House (Pivotal) – a winner of the Group 1 Jebel Hatta (1800m) in Dubai in March.
Ambitious (Deep Impact) was a Group 2 winner in Japan, while Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars) and Comin’ Through (Fastnet Rock) have been Group 1 winners in Australia.
Humidor currently heads the NZB Caulfield WFA Championship with 11 points. Grunt (4) and Black Heart Bart (1) are his only race rivals with points already to their name.
The Underwood Stakes winner will earn 10 points, with 8 for second, 6 for third, 4 for fourth, 3 for fifth and 1 each for sixth, seventh and eighth.
The Underwood Stakes will be run as Race 8 on Sunday with a start time of 4.30pm (7.30pm NZ time).
The NZB Caulfield WFA Championship Series will conclude with the A$1 million Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) on October 13.
|1||Black Heart Bart||7||Outstanding galloper Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars) has won 16 races and more than A$3.9 million in prize-money, headed by five Group 1 victories. His best result from four starts in this campaign was a first-up fourth in the Group 3 Bletchingly Stakes (1200m).||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller|
|2||Humidor||1||Bred and part-owned in New Zealand, Humidor (NZ) (Teofilo) scored the third Group 1 win of his career in the Memsie Stakes (1400m) two starts back. He has now earned more than A$3.4 million in stakes, having also run a close second to the mighty Winx (Street Cry) in last year's Cox Plate.||Darren Weir||Damian Lane|
|3||Amibitious||4||Formerly a Group 2 winner in Japan, Ambitious (Deep Impact) has already been Group 1-placed in Australia in the Tancred Stakes (2400m) and Doomben Cup (2000m). He didn't have all favours when sixth first-up in the Group 2 Dato' Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m).||Anthony Freedman||Mark Zahra|
|4||Tosen Basil||3||Japanese-bred Tosen Basil (Harbinger) won five races in his homeland and also excelled at Group 1 level in Hong Kong, finishing third in last year's Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m). He was 11th in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) on his Australian debut.||Darren Weir||John Allen|
|5||Comin' Through||2||Fastnet Rock gelding Comin' Through has won seven of his 19 starts, headed by the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m). He also ran second in the Group 1 Doncaster Handicap (1600m). He was a first-up winner of the Group 2 Tramway Stakes (1400m), then ran sixth in the Makybe Diva Stakes.||Chris Waller||Michael Walker|
|6||Pounamu||6||Perth raider Pounamu (Authorized) is the winner of 10 races and more than A$1.5 million. He finished 12th in the Makybe Diva Stakes.||Alan Mathews||Michael Dee|
|7||Blair House||8||Godolphin's Blair House (Pivotal) scored a world-class victory in the Group 1 Jebel Hata (1800m) in Dubai in March. He was unplaced in the Dubai Turf (1800m) in his only subsequent appearance. On a similar build-up, stablemate Jungle Cat (Iffraaj) scored a first-up win in last weekend's Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m).||Charlie Appleby||James McDonald|
|8||Homesman||5||War Front gelding Homesman was placed in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby (2000m) in New York last year. His three Australian starts have produced a win in the Listed Mornington Cup Prelude (2000m), sixth in the Australian Cup and a first-up second in the Dato' Tan Chin Nam Stakes.||Liam Howley||Ben Melham|
|9||Grunt||10||Karaka graduate Grunt (NZ) (O'Reilly) has made a big impression in his short career, winning five of his eight starts including two at Group 1 level. He won the Australian Guineas (1600m) as a three-year-old, and added a last-start victory in the Makybe Diva Stakes.||Mick Price||Damien Oliver|
|10||Bonneval||9||Karaka graduate and dual New Zealand Horse of the Year Bonneval (NZ) (Makfi) is a triple Group 1 winner, including last year's running of this race. She was ninth in the Dato Tan' Chin Nam Stakes, her first start for 10 and a half months.||Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman||Regan Bayliss|