Stunning Underwood Win for Black Heart BartMonday, Sep 30, 2019
Nine-year-old warrior Black Heart Bart (Blackfriars) turned back the clock with an amazing victory in Sunday’s A$750,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m), the third leg of the New Zealand Bloodstock Caulfield WFA Championship.
The remarkable gelding won the Underwood Stakes and the NZB Caulfield WFA Championship in the spring of 2016, but he hadn’t won a race since February of 2017 and was semi-retired after the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) last October.
The multimillion-dollar earner returned to racing with an eighth in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) on August 31, then ran 11th in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) on September 21.
Sunday’s Underwood was his third start back, and he returned to his brilliant best at odds of 100-to-one.
After settling in fourth place behind a solid tempo set by Trap For Fools (Poet’s Voice) and Gatting (Hard Spun), Black Heart Bart’s jockey Brad Rawiller brought him off their heels at the home turn.
He moved up alongside those two front-runners at the 300-metre mark, with last year’s Underwood winner Homesman (War Front) looming ominously on his outside.
The two previous Underwood winners went clear to fight out an exciting finish, with Black Heart Bart pipping Homesman by a neck.
Gailo Chop (Deportivo) finished another length and a half away in third, just ahead of Hartnell (Authorized).
It was a special moment for Rawiller, who has been Black Heart Bart’s partner through most of his long and illustrious career.
“I’ve won a Golden Slipper and a Caulfield Cup and never looked like getting teary, but I’m nearly in tears today,” he said. “It’s just amazing.
“For this horse’s first-up run this spring, Godolphin offered me the ride on either Hartnell or Alizee (Sepoy), but this horse and I have been through thick and thin together. I couldn’t not ride him, even though he may not have been the best ride in that particular race. But loyalty isn’t hard to do when there’s such good people involved.
“Backing up a week after his last run, going up to 1800 metres, was a master training effort, and Maddie (Raymond) is a big part of the reason why this horse is back. She’s done a lot of work with this horse.”
Black Heart Bart is trained by Lindsey Smith, who won a previous leg of the NZB Caulfield WFA Championship, the Group 1 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m), with Scales of Justice (Not a Single Doubt).
“This is a grand old horse,” Smith said. “I thought he was in a bit of trouble last start, but the jockey was very confident he’d come back and run a good race today. All of the staff love this horse.”
Black Heart Bart has now won 17 of his 56 starts, placing in another 18 and earning A$4.47 million for Western Australian owners Kim Renner, Craig Delacy, Dave Richardson, Arthur Psaltis and Ian McCarthy.
He is now a six-time Group 1 winner, with Sunday’s victory sitting alongside earlier wins in the Goodwood Handicap (1200m), Memsie Stakes (1400m), Underwood Stakes (1800m), C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) and Futurity Stakes (1400m)
Sunday’s win lifted Black Heart Bart to 11 points in the 2019 NZB Caulfield WFA Championship, now sitting in second place on the points table. Hartnell, who was previously in a three-way tie for first with Mystic Journey (Needs Further) and Scales of Justice, has taken an outright lead with 14. Mystic Journey and Scales of Justice have dipped to equal third place with 10 points each.
The fourth and final leg of the Series is the A$1 million Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m), which will be run on October 12.