Queen Elizabeth Stakes favourite It’s A Dundeel will touch down in Sydney on Sunday in the best condition of his career according to New Zealand trainer Murray Baker.
The Cambridge trainer will load It’s A Dundeel on the plane for Sydney on Sunday and is warning his Australian opponents that the High Chaparral stallion couldn’t be any better.
“It’s A Dundeel has never gone better. He’s like a ballet dancer,” Baker told Racing HQ today.
Baker will give the 2013 Australian Derby winner one more jump out over 900m at Cambridge on Friday before he flys out to prepare for his 2014 Sydney Autumn Carnival debut in the Group 1 $500,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on March 8.
Baker has mapped out a definite Autumn weight for age plan that will culminate with the Group 1 $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on April 19, the final day of the two day ‘The Championships’ carnival at Randwick.
In between the Chipping Norton Stakes and the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, It’s A Dundeel will compete in the Group 1 $500,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 22 and the Group 1 $1.5m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on April 5.
Baker defended his decision of starting It’s A Dundeel’s campaign over 1600m, saying that the four year old would be better suited over the ‘mile’ first up now that he is older.
“We feel that he is not a 1400 metre horse and he ran very credibly in the Hobartville last year as a three-year-old, he got back and ran on well, and he ran well in the Memsie,” Baker said.
“That is really not his go and I think to give the horse his best go he really needs to be at a mile.”
It’s A Dundeel’s last two preparations kicked off in 1400m races which resulted in two fourths.
As a three year old last Autumn he finished fourth to Pierro in the Group 2 $200,000 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) at Rosehill then in the Spring ran fourth to Atlantic Jewel in the Group 1 $350,000 New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
Even though It’s A Dundeel was able to win a Group 1 during the Melbourne Spring Carnival when he lowered the colours of glamour mare Atlantic Jewel for the first time in the $400,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 21, his best wins have been in the Harbour City.
Last Autumn It’s A Dundeel made a clean sweep of the three year old Group 1s with wins in the $600,000 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m) at Randwick, the $500,000 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) at Rosehill and the $1.5m David Jones Australian Derby (2400m) back at Randwick.
In early markets for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes, It’s A Dundeel has been posted the $4 favourite ahead of last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente at $6, Peter Snowden’s multiple Group 1 winner Guelph at $7 and Chris Waller’s new stable star Boban at $9.