Doncaster Mile topweight It’s A Dundeel will kick off his Sydney Autumn Carnival campaign in the Group 1 $500,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
Even though New Zealand trainer Murray Baker has mapped at a weight for age Autumn program for It’s A Dundeel, he was also nominated for the Group 1 $3m The Star Doncaster Mile (1600m) at Randwick on April 12.
The Kiwi super star was allocated the topweight of 58kg when weights for ‘The Championships’ feature mile race were released today with the Chris Waller two time Group 1 winner Boban and English galloper Gordon Lord Byron both on 56.5kgs.
Saturday’s Chipping Norton Stakes will be the first of four weight for age contests for It’ A Dundeel, if everything goes to plan, and will culminate with a start in the Group 1 $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 19.
The High Chaparral stallion will also contest the Group 1 $500,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 22 and the Group 1 $1.5m The BMW (2400m) at the same venue on April 5.
It’s A Dundeel won a 1215m Randwick barrier trial in captivating style since arriving from New Zealand and regular jockey James McDonald was full of praise for the four year old, indicating that this could be his best campaign to date.
“He went terrific and he’s definitely come back a stronger horse. It’s scary how much he has improved,” McDonald told Racenet.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if this is his best preparation.”
The Chipping Norton Stakes entries includes the Boban, who is struggling to regain his Spring form, but gets his chance to improve stepping up the 1600m and stable mate Hawkspur who has returned from Melbourne to concentrate on the Sydney Autumn Carnival.
After wins in the Group 1 $500,000 The Star Epsom (1600m) at Randwick and the Group 1 $1m Emirates Stakes (1600m) at Flemington in the Spring, Boban has failed to run a place at two runs this preparation.
The Bernadini four year old started favourite when fifth to Appearance in the Group 2 $200,000 SCSI Expressway Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on February 8 then showed a slight improvement when fourth to Appearance again in the Group 2 $250,000 Schweppes Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on February 22.
Waller has also nominated Moriarty who put in a good effort when third at big odds to Appearance in the Apollo Stakes.
New Zealand three year old El Roca has been nominated for the Chipping Norton Stakes as well as the Group 3 $150,000 Liverpool City Cup (1300m) after being a late scratching from the Group 2 $200,000 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill last Saturday because a treatment issue.
Trainer Trent Busuttin and his vet Dr David Garth were both fined $2000 for treating El Roca on Friday morning, the day before he was due to race, with an alkalinising agent which was against the Australian Rules of Ruling.
But the Cambridge trainer indicated last Saturday that he would run the three year old in the Liverpool City Cup as his final run before running in the Group 1 $600,000 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick the following week.
Gai Waterhouse’s three nomination are Metropolitan winner Glencadam Gold, having his first run since the Spring, Woodbine, who ran a respectable race at his first try at Group 2 level when fourth to Dissident in the Hobartville Stakes and restricted galloper Order Of The Sun.
The Chipping Norton Stakes has attracted twelve entries with the Australian Turf Club extending nominations until 11AM on Tuesday.