Karyn and Hamish McQuade, the part-owners of Underthemoonlight, have
bitten the bullet and made a late entry for Saturday’s Gr. 1 Makfi
Minutes before today’s noon deadline, the Matamata couple decided to
fork out the $1,265 late nomination fee on their 78-rated mare. Now with
Underthemoonlight the only horse among the 17 entries not guaranteed
a start in the $200,000 feature, they will have to sit it out in the
hope of making the field.
Earlier this morning last year’s Makfi runner-up Ryan Mark was a
shock withdrawal due to a diminished appetite, while Awapuni mare North
And South was also pulled out, reducing the list to 15, and then last
year’s Makfi third placegetter Ginner Hart was supplemented.
“It’s not an easy position to be in, but we’ve decided to give it a
shot and see what happens over the next few days,” said Karyn McQuade,
who also trains the El Hermano mare. “We’ve also got her in the open
mile and she’s safe for a start in that, so we can just prefer her for
the weekend and see where we stand on race morning.”
The McQuades have always held the five-year-old, a close relative of
their 2004 New Zealand Oaks placegetter Midnight Kiss, in high regard
and this isn’t the first time they have set their sights high.
Her first win came in Rating 65 grade and she was still a one-race
winner when she finished second and then won in open sprint company
during the winter. Underthemoonlight’s last start produced an
eye-catching and extremely unlucky fourth in the Gr. 2 Lisa Chittick
Foxbridge Plate, when she was blocked for room in the home straight.
When she finally worked into the clear she flashed home for fourth,
less than three lengths from the winner Saracino and only half a length
“That effort told us we weren’t over-rating her,” McQuade added.
“With any sort of luck she would have finished second and Cameron
(Lammas, jockey) said she could even have tested the winner.
“It’s ironic that if she had just finished third in the Foxbridge
Plate we would have made the Makfi field, so at least we have that
confidence about her against these higher rated horses.
“The other thing about her is that unlike a lot of Saturday’s field
she’s hard fit. I galloped her this morning and she felt as good as