McDonald Delighted With New Cox Plate Favourite

By: Thomas Hackett
October 22nd, 2013

It’s A Dundeel is the new favourite for the 2013 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday, following the withdrawal of Atlantic Jewel, and jockey James McDonald believes that the four-year-old is spot-on heading into the Group 1 event.

It's A Dundeel worked strongly alongside Let's Make A Deal at Moonee Valley this morning ahead of the Cox Plate on Saturday.

It's A Dundeel worked strongly alongside Let's Make A Deal at Moonee Valley this morning ahead of the Cox Plate on Saturday. Photo by: Race Horse Photos Australia

McDonald partnered It’s A Dundeel at the Cox Plate Breakfast With The Best at Moonee Valley this morning and the rising jockey could not have been happy with the classy entire who worked over 1600 metres alongside Let’s  Make A Deal.

It’s A Dundeel missed out on running in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) just over a week ago after bursting a foot abscess but McDonald is confident the son of High Chaparral has gotten over the issue and will go into this weekend’s Cox Plate fully fit.

“He was just perfect, he settled perfectly and galloped strongly to the line,” McDonald told TVN.

“He really felt brilliant; Murray has got him spot on, he doesn’t take a lot of racing.

“He’s fit and healthy and ready to go.”

It’s A Dundeel has had just two starts during the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival; finishing a promising fourth in the Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m) before upsetting Atlantic Jewel in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m).

McDonald has ridden It’s A Dundeel in his of each starts this preparation and he is confident that the four-year-old is in even better condition than he was in the lead-up to his win in the Underwood Stakes.

“He looks fantastic and he’s dappled up,” McDonald said.

“He looks amazing and he wasn’t like that before he beat Atlantic Jewel and he’s really come on.”

Trainer Murray Baker has often been critical of It’s A Dundeel’s performances in trackwork but said that he was pleased with today’s work at Moonee Valley; with the Australian Derby winner running his final 400 metres in 24.89 seconds.

“He just chugs along and doesn’t really go along until you ask him,” Baker said.

“He’s as fit as we can get him.

You are always on the back foot when you miss a race in a preparation, but I don’t think there will be any excuses going into the Cox Plate.”

It’s A Dundeel will jump from barrier 12 in the Cox Plate and is aiming to become the first horse to win the Australian Derby and the Cox Plate in the same year since Kiwi great Bonecrusher’s memorable victory in 1986.

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