New Zealand trainer Murray Baker will use a solid gallop at Caulfield on Wednesday to test out It’s A Dundeel’s troublesome hoof as he prepares for the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26.
It’s A Dundeel developed a hoof abscess after defeating glamour mare Atlantic Jewel in the Group 1 $400,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 21.
The injury forced It’s A Dundeel to miss a rematch with Atlantic Jewel in last Saturday’s Group 1 $400,000 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield forcing the Kiwi star to go into the Cox Plate one run short.
Baker is hoping the big day atmosphere of Thousand Guineas Day at Caulfield on Wednesday will help in getting It’s A Dundeel back into top fitness and he will also schedule another solid hitout at Moonee Valley with ‘Breakfast With The Best’ next Tuesday.
“We’re hoping a couple of simulated race-day experiences is going to help him a bit,” Baker told Racing Network.
Baker is confident that It’s A Dundeel has overcome the hoof issue as he showed no signs of soreness when he worked over 1200m at three quarter pace on Saturday morning followed by a trip to the beach on Sunday.
“He seemed as good as gold and he’s been to the beach today (Sunday) and everything seems okay,” Baker said.
“We’ve only missed two day’s work but missing the race was the real concern,’’ Baker said.
“But he’s a naturally athletic type of horse and we think he’s a chance of making it.’’
Atlantic Jewel now looks to have the advantage over It’s A Dundeel when they do meet again in the Cox Plate after the mare showed that she was back to her best with an effortless win in the Caulfield Stakes.
“The mare was absolutely awesome. It’s hard to say if she was better on the day than when we beat her but she was awesome just the same,’’ Baker said.
Atlantic Jewel is a clear cut favourite for the Cox Plate at $2.30 with the Gai Waterhouse trained Fiorente the second pick at $5.
It’s A Dundeel is now on the third line of betting at $6 just in front of Puissance De Lune at $9.