A bold statement made by The Underbelly
By Jess de Lautour, LOVERACING.NZ News Desk
Progressive stayer The Underbelly commenced what could be a highly successful weekend for Robbie Patterson and underrated sire The Bold One.
Patterson’s stable has been a force to be reckoned with in stakes company this season, with several of his top performers flying the flag for the Grangewilliam Stud stallion, including this Saturday’s Gr.1 Herbie Dyke Stakes (2000m) contender One Bold Cat.
Before travelling north for the Waikato feature, the New Plymouth horseman prepared a warm $2.30 TAB favourite in The Underbelly to complete a hattrick of winning performances at Wanganui on Friday.
Contesting the Wanganui Function Centre R79 2060 in the hands of stable number-one hoop Craig Grylls, the five-year-old settled comfortably midfield in the six-horse affair, while a strong tempo was established up-front by Chikira Lass.
The Underbelly drew level with the pacemaker and powered into the home straight, proving too strong easing to a 2-3/4 length win from Final Return, who had dominated the late market closing a $2.60 second-favourite.
Patterson was thrilled to see a dominant step-up in grade from the gelding, who had impressed with two Rating 75 victories on Boxing Day at Otaki, and Trentham’s Telegraph Day.
“He’s really starting to mature, he was a bit of a handful early on but he’s really come into his own now. Craig was pretty chuffed with him and said he had it won a long way out,” Patterson said.
“He’s a beautiful big animal with a good set of lungs, and he’s destined for better things going forward I think.”
With next season’s major Cup races now in mind, Patterson indicated The Underbelly would be sighted twice more this preparation, in the New Zealand St Leger Trial (2300m) at Otaki on February 24, and the New Zealand St Leger (2600m) on Oaks Day at Trentham.
“He really needs good ground, so we’ll put him aside for a spell after those two and aim for the Waikato Cup (Gr.3, 2400m) later in the year, followed by the bigger Cup races,” he said.
The Underbelly has now earned more than $114,000 for his connections, including co-breeder and part-owner Eddie Bourke, whose silks will be carried aboard One Bold Cat in chasing the lucrative $600,000 stake on offer at Te Rapa.
One Bold Cat made a significant impression in claiming the Gr.3 Counties Cup (2100m) in late November in strong northern company, which was followed by a tidy fifth-place finish in the Gr.1 Zabeel Classic (2050m) behind race-rival Campionessa.
While all eyes were on a dominant display from stablemate Puntura in the Gr.1 Thorndon Mile (1600m) last-start, the five-year-old closed strongly into fourth place, a position Patterson felt could’ve been improved with the jockey dropping his whip near the 300m.
“He went super in the Thorndon, he can be a bit lazy, and the jockey dropped his whip so with a bit more encouragement he probably would’ve been a lot closer,” he said.
“But he was only really there to have a run to prepare for this race, and the horse is super well, I can’t fault him. He was bucking in his box this morning after he worked.
“He’s got a bit of a tricky draw (9), but a nice run midfield one-off the fence would be ideal if possible.
“Whichever way the weather goes, he’ll go a good race, but there is a shower forecast so that would really help his chances. Any easing in the track will help him immensely.”
The TAB has essentially predicted a one-horse race in the Herbie Dyke with Legarto at $1.75, with One Bold Cat sitting at $11 in clear fifth-favouritism.
“Obviously Legarto is virtually unbeatable from her draw (1) on paper if she gets a nice run, but this horse will be getting home, he’s very honest, and Gryllsy knows him really well. I can see him being right in the thick of it,” Patterson said.
Redwood mare The Dutch Dame will complete Patterson’s duo at Te Rapa, contesting a competitive Peter Kelly – Bayleys Real Estate 2100 following a last start third to The Underbelly at Trentham.
“She gets in well at the weights (54.5kg), she’s a very honest mare and will get the trip well,” Patterson said.
“She was unlucky last time, she ran third to The Underbelly but she got blocked at the top of the straight, and would’ve run second. If she gets the rub of the green, she will be thereabouts on Saturday.” – LOVERACING.NZ News Desk