Kiwi three year old It’s A Dundeel confirmed his credentials for the Victoria Derby after knocking off the favourite, Poisir, in the Group 1 $400,000 Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick today.
It’s A Dundeel kept his perfect winning record, making it five wins from five starts and in the process relegated the Gai Waterhouse trained Proisir to the runner-up stall for the first time.
Winning jockey James McDonald settled It’s A Dundeel in his usual position at the tail of the field keeping a close eye on Nash Rawiller on Proisir who was just in front of him coming to the 1000m.
When the pace slackened off a bit at the 700m, McDonald decided to make a move around Proisir and the two three year olds were beside each other on the home turn.
Rawiller was the first to make a move in the straight and after putting over a length on It’s A Dundeel looked like taking out the Spring Champion Stakes.
But when McDonald switched the whip from the right hand to the left at the 300m, It’s A Dundeel ($6.50) responded and the High Chaparral colt really knuckled down and overhauled the $1.28 favourite to score by a head on the line.
“He’s going the right way to win a Derby,’ McDonald said.
“He’s going to have to keep improving but he has taken every step in his stride. We’ve knocked off the hot shot. It’s a bloody good feeling.”
“It was a really nice pace early, they really slowed up from the 1000m onwards, hence why I made a little bit of a move early. He’s got the will to win and knows where that winning post is. He’s a pleasure to ride.”
Winning trainer Murray Baker will now head to Melbourne for the Group 1 $1.5m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on November 3 and will prove very hard to beat.
“He’s good staying horse, hits the line well. He just outstayed them,” Baker said.
“I thought he would be pretty hard to beat today. He really digs deep in the final hundred, he seems to find another gear.”