Trainer Murray Baker has admitted that he would be surprised if It’s A Dundeel begins his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a victory in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
It’s A Dundeel recorded two wins from his three previous first-up appearances but will face an extremely tough field in the Memsie this Saturday and may be slightly outpaced over 1400 metres.
The High Chaparral colt started his historic 2013 Autumn Racing Carnival campaign with a fast finishing fourth behind Pierro, Rebel Dane and Proisir in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes at Rosehill (1400m) in March and Baker would be happy with a similar performance on the weekend.
“I’d be very surprised if he could win the race over 1400 metres first-up in such a hot field,” Baker told The New Zealand Racing Desk.
Although Baker is expected big things from It’s A Dundeel this spring, the veteran trainer believes that the impressive entire will go down as the greatest horse he has ever trained, even if he fails to return to his best form as a four-year-old.
“He’s the only horse to have ever won the Gloaming, the Spring Champion, the Randwick Guineas, the Rosehill Guineas and the Australian Derby and he won the New South Wales Horse of the Year,” Baker said.
“The Phantom, Lion Tamer and Nom du Jeu were all terrific performers, but this horse has done it all in Australia and that’s the benchmark.
“He’s probably the best horse I’ve ever had.”
It’s A Dundeel will have a better opportunity to add a fifth Group 1 victory to his wins in the Spring Champion Stakes (2000m), Randwick Guineas (1600m), Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and Australian Derby (2400m) when he contests the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 21 and either the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) or Caulfield Stakes (2000m) before his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival ‘grand final’ in the Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26.
Baker is chasing his second victory in the Memsie Stakes after previously winning the race with The Phantom in 1990.