Trainer Murray Baker is confident that It’s A Dundeel can improve his first-up record when he returns to the races in the 2014 Chipping Norton Stakes at Warwick Farm on Saturday.
It’s A Dundeel won a maiden at Ellerslie on debut and started his 2012 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with a win in the Allan Denham Racing Handicap (1350m) at Wyong, but has been defeated in his past two first-up starts; finishing fourth behind Pierro in the Group 2 Hobartville Stakes (1400m) on March 2 last year and fourth behind glamour mare Atlantic Jewel in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) on August 31.
Baker said that he has been happy with It’s A Dundeel’s first-up efforts at the start of his past two campaigns and believes that the son of High Chaparral will be far better suited when he resumes over a mile this weekend.
“He’s gone well first-up the last two times but they’ve just been sharper run races,” Baker told The New Zealand Racing Desk.
”He got held up in the Memsie and he got home strongly in the Hobartville.
“We would have run him first-up over 1600m in the spring but there wasn’t a suitable race; we wanted to run him in the Underwood second-up and if we’d wanted to start him out over a mile, we would have had to run him a week before and that didn’t suit.”
It’s A Dundeel bounced back from his Hobartville Stakes defeat to become one of the stars of the 2013 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival; taking out the Group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas (1600m), Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) and Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) before finishing second behind Reliable Man in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
Baker feels that It’s A Dundeel has always produced his best form in Sydney and expects him to improve his record in New South Wales to an imposing eight wins from ten race starts.
“He’s got a great record in Sydney and we’re expecting a good run,” Baker said.
“He’s a lot fitter this time too and we’re happy with him.
“He’s working well and he’s on target.”
It’s A Dundeel has been one of the best backed runners on the Warwick Farm card with Ladbrokes and is now into the odds on quote of $1.90; with Boban ($4), Hawkspur ($9) and Moriarty ($9.50) the only other horses in the field that have received any support from punters.