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Melbourne Cup favourite Russian Camelot continues his path to the spring majors in the Group 1 $750,000 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield tomorrow.
Russian Camelot won the South Australian Derby last season, earning a 122 Timeform rating, the first time that the winner of the Adelaide classic posted a bigger number than both the Victoria Derby and ATC Australian Derby winners.
Racing and Sports guru Gary Crispe said despite this notable achievement Russian Camelot “hardly looks done just yet”.
“He has quickly gone about improving his rating, running to 123 when runner-up in the Makybe Diva Stakes despite sitting wide throughout,’’ Crispe said.
“A rating of 123 makes Russian Camelot stand out in the Underwood Stakes field as does his youth.
“As a three-year-old born in the northern hemisphere, Russian Camelot is a good two years younger than any of his rivals.
“Those that have posted ratings better than Russian Camelot’s 123 are Humidor and Gailo Chop – eight and nine-year-old respectively.’’
Humidor, now trained by Chris Waller, wound back the clock in winning the Feehan Stakes, returning a 116 rating.
“But Humidor will need to really turn things back to match the younger Russian Camelot now and, despite winning a Memsie Stakes here, Caulfield has never really been his favourite stomping ground.’’
Crispe noted that early betting suggests Mr Quickie is something of a threat after his eye-catching return, but a Timeform rating of 115 leaves him with a “bit to find class wise”.
“I feel Arcadia Queen looks the one most likely to trouble the favourite,’’ he said.
“A string of niggling issues have kept Arcadia Queen off the track in the past 18 months.
“And she has been below her best when she has made it to the races, but her last start effort hinted at a return to form.
“The step up to 1800m now gives her the chance to recapture some of her past peak performances.’’
Arcadia Queen gets back out to 1800m for the first time since winning the Group 1 Kingston Town Stakes two years ago.
“She sizzled that day, a fourth win on the bounce backed up by a fast time and a rating of 121,’’ Crispe revealed.
“A return to anything like that would give Russian Camelot plenty to worry about in the Underwood although that’s not particularly likely, with her latest effort being a 108-rated second in a mares Group 3.
“But she did close off quickly there and was every bit as good as the winner Pretty Brazen who ran well again in last week’s Rupert Clarke Stakes.
“There was some real signs of life in her burst between the 600m and the 200m and while a big step forward will be required to win the Underwood, she is still seen as the one most likely to trouble Russian Camelot as he marches on towards the Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup.’’
Article taken from Daily Telegraph, published Friday 25th September 2020, Author, Ray Thomas, Page 42.