Trainer Murray Baker is expecting It’s A Dundeel to run on strongly in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Saturday but is unsure whether the four-year-old is sharp enough over 1800 metres to win the star-studded race.
It’s A Dundeel started his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a promising fourth in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) and Baker told Racing Ahead that he expects him to improve this weekend when he takes on an even stronger field in the Underwood Stakes.
“He has continued to improve and we are very happy with him,” Baker said on RSN.
“He certainly looks well, I came back yesterday, and he looks to have fined down a bit.
“He went into that race (Memsie Stakes) and hadn’t done much, due to the inclement weather over there (in New Zealand), and hopefully he should continue to improve.
“He is probably fit enough but whether he is sharp enough over 1800 metres is the question.
“I think that he will be better over 2000 meters but he can run a sharp 1800 so I we are hoping that he goes well.”
The wet weather in Melbourne this weekend means that the Caulfield track will likely be on the slow side on Saturday but Baker does not believe that will be a problem for It’s A Dundeel, nor will jumping towards the outside of the field in barrier 12.
“It is not really a concern for him,” Baker said of the slow Caulfield track.
“He ran a very good fourth in the Hobartville on a very wet track and we don’t think that he will mind it.
“He was bottled up a bit in the Memsie and when he went to go he didn’t have the run so he is better off out there.”
It’s A Dundeel has been included in the entries for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) and Baker confirmed this morning that the Cox Plate is his major target – especially after the High Chaparral gelding was allocated 56kg for the Melbourne Cup by Racing Victoria Chief Handicapper Greg Carpenter.
“We are concentrating on the Cox Plate at this stage,” the New Zealand-based trainer said.
“The Melbourne Cup is there and we are aware of it, it is a great race and it would be great to have him run in it, but we will wait and see how he progresses over the next month.”
It’s A Dundeel will have his final start before the Cox Plate in either the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) or the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m).