Tim Clark took Alligator Blood to the lead with Zaaki eventually sitting on his girth as the six horse field ran in three pairs for the majority of the 1800m event.
The Group One field hit the 600m mark where they bunched up with only about 3 lengths covering them as Zaaki levelled up with Alligator Blood, but by the time they had hit the 200m mark Tim Clark had his gelding back in front by half a length and kicked clear to take home the $1 million feature.
2022 Underwood Stakes Replay
“Yeah most certainly, obviously he's had a colourful career the horse, you know, and I just feel privileged to have the opportunity to train the horse and in particular to Mr. Harvey to entrust us with him.” Said Adrian Bott, co-trainer of Alligator Blood when asked if this win meant a lot to him.
“Very proud of the horse coming out here today, out in trip for the first time, you know, to take on a quality field and the pressure was put on to him very early in the race and I loved the way that he responded and kept fighting.
“Just over that extra trip he can find that nice rhythm and maintain those good sectionals at good high cruising speed and he can find under pressure so I expected that and it's a testing track here today and I expected him to continue to find under pressure over further as well.
“It most certainly is.” Bott said when asked if that was enough of a test for a Cox Plate.
The win handed jockey Tim Clark his 21st victory at the highest level.
“Yeah look, he got away well and as planned we wanted to be showing our intent early, then try and get him into a nice rhythm from the 1400m and 1200m onward.” Tim Clark explained post-race.
“I thought he travelled really comfortably and he seemed to be doing it well within himself and Zaaki did come and put the pressure on and eyeball him and I just felt that, still had a bit to offer my bloke and we sorta got down to the bottom of the dip and thought he responded courageously.
“Probably just being that extra run into his prep, I felt that Zaaki might have been a bit vulnerable late going to the 1800m second-up.
“2040m at The Valley, bring it on!” Tim Clark said, very happily when referring to the Cox Plate in just under four weeks' time.
Alligator Blood is now the second favourite at $7 with online betting sites in the Cox Plate markets.