Underthemoonlight flies home to capture Foxbridge Plate

By: Mark Nowell @MarkANowell

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Underthemoonlight relished the conditions to storm home to capture the Group Two $100,000 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (WFA) over 1200 metres at Te Rapa on Saturday.

From a wide barrier, rider Cameron Lammas settled Underthemoonlight at the tail of the field. At the 600m the pair improved and at the turn, then burst between runners and with a searching effort, out-finished Close Up (G.Cooksley) by three-quarters of a length. Six-time Group One winner Kawi (J.Waddell) looked back to his best over a distance short of his best, two and a half lengths back in third. Pacemaker Southern Icon (M.Hills) fought hard to the line to finish a brave fourth.

“When Hamish told me what the tactics were I wasn’t too sure,” Lammas said.

“I know she’s won races from the back but I wasn’t keen on giving so much away to afield like this, midfield maybe but not out the back door.”

“She settled well at the back, on the tail of Kawi. I made my mind at the 600m I wasn’t going too wide and she burst between the gap and kept giving.”

“She’s stronger this time in, and she’s tough and always gives 110 per cent.”

“Hamish and Karyn have done a great job to get her back fit for today,” Lammas added.

Underthemoonlight’s winning time 1:14.56 (last 600m in 37.03) on a downgraded Heavy10 track.

“After her work on Thursday I was very pleased,” Hamish McQuade said.

“The only way to ride her was go back from the wide draw and then go round them. That’s what I told Cameron, to sit back and then get onto Kawi’s tail.”

“We’ve thought for a long time she’s a Group One mare and today I think she’s proven it,” commented McQuade.

The daughter of El Hermano was an unlucky fourth in last year’s edition and the win surpassed her Group Three Taranaki Stakes success and the Listed Tauranga Classic at her last start.

The six-year-old registered her sixth win and along with 11 placings from 22 starts, took her earnings past $250,000 for Hamish and Karyn McQuade, who bred her and race her with long-time stable stalwart Cliff Solomon.

She will now head to the Group One Tarzino Trophy at Hastings in two weeks’ time, for which she now has a $10 quote on a fixed odds market led by Volpe Veloce at $3 and Kawi at $3.50.

Although there wasn’t success for Waikato Stud’s Gary Chittick’s part-owned Coldplay, he can take great satisfaction that Underthemoonlight’s sire El Hermano is by their resident stallion Pins, and the dam Midnight Dip is a O’Reilly mare.