McDonald predicts the best is yet to come for It’s A Dundeel

By: Mark Mazzaglia
February 24th, 2014

Jockey James McDonald is predicting the best is yet to come from Kiwi super galloper It’s A Dundeel after the four year old was an impressive Randwick barrier trial winner today.

It's A Dundeel is in tip top condition heading into the Sydney Autumn Carnival

It's A Dundeel is in tip top condition heading into the Sydney Autumn Carnival. Photo by Race Horse Photos Australia.

The multiple Group 1 winner and last Autumn’s three year old star cruised to a two lengths win over Porcellanus and Role Model in a 1215m trial this morning with McDonald in the saddle  fuelling his opinion that the stallion can improve on his already impressive record.

“He went terrific and he’s definitely come back a stronger horse. It’s scary how much he has improved,” McDonald told Racenet.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if this is his best preparation.”

It’s A Dundeel had an interrupted Spring Carnival campaign when he developed a stone bruise after beating previously unbeaten mare Atlantic Jewel in the Group 1 $400,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 21.

Trainer Murray Baker had to race against time to have the High Chaparral entire fit in time run in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26.

It’s A Dundeel took his place in the weight for age championship of Australasia but after having a tough run three wide for most of the race, ended up in eighth spot behind all the way winner Shamus Award.

Baker said that It’s A Dundeel was in tip top shape when he arrived in Australia from his Cambridge base two weeks ago and he has continued to thrive in Sydney.

The top Kiwi trainer has picked out the Group 1 $500,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on March 8 as It’s A Dundeel’s Autumn Carnival starting point that will lead to the Group 1 $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 19.

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.

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.

It’s A Dundeel is currently the second favourite at $4.40 for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes with who has last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Fiorente at the top of the betting at $3.80 following his awesome first up win in the Group 2 $220,000 Carlton Draught Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield last Saturday.

The next in the betting is the Peter Snowden trained Guelph ($11), who disappointed first up when sixth in the Group 2 $175,000 Red Lea Chickens Light Fingers Stakes (1200m) at Randwick, and Boban at $13 who is struggling to regain his Spring form with two unplaced runs at Randwick this time in.

The Chris Waller trained four year old was well beaten when a first up fifth to Appearance in the Group 2 $200,000 SCSI Expressway Stakes (1200m) on February 8 then fourth to the same mare in the Group 2 $250,000 Schweppes Apollo Stakes (1400m)  last Saturday.

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