New Zealand superstar It’s A Dundeel has returned to work in New Zealand and trainer Murray Baker is happy with the condition of the entire ahead of his 2014 Sydney Autumn Racing campaign.
It’s A Dundeel was one of the stars of the 2013 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival, winning the three-year-old Triple Crown, but was restricted to just three starts during the 2013 Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival due to a burst foot abscess.
The High Chaparral entire resumed with a promising fourth in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) and became the favourite for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) after upsetting glamour mare Atlantic Jewel in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m).
It’s A Dundeel was ruled out of the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) because of his foot issue and could finish no better than eighth behind Shamus Award in the Cox Plate after being caught wide in the early stages of the race.
He was sent to the spelling paddock after his disappointing Cox Plate performance and Baker told Racing Ahead that the valuable stallion prospect had relished his time away from the stable and continued to grow and mature.
“He came back to stable last Thursday and he looks good,” Baker said.
“He spent six weeks in the paddock, which was a good break for him.
“He went to the Cambridge Hilton which is not far from where I live and he did pretty well.
“He put on quite a bit of weight and he has matured a bit more and thickened up.”
Baker has revealed that It’s A Dundeel will race exclusively in Sydney during the autumn and is set to return to the races in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on March 8 before contesting the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens a fortnight later.
It’s A Dundeel will step-up to 2400 metres for the first time, since his awesome Australian Derby victory earlier this year, in the Group 1 The BMW before dropping back in distance to contest the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) – a race in which he was beaten as a short priced favourite by Reliable Man earlier this year.
It’s A Dundeel ($5) is currently favourite in 2014 Queen Elizabeth Stakes betting markets from Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente ($9), Chris Waller-trained Boban ($9) and Hong Kong star Akeed Mofeed ($9).