Cambridge trainer Murray Baker thought he was watching a steeplechase at Ellerslie instead of the $200,000, Group 3 Co-Wyn Building Group Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Randwick on Saturday such was the length that the field was spread out, but he need not have worried as It’s A Dundeel (NZ) won anyway.
James McDonald and It's A Dundeel charges into the lead, picture sportpix.com.au
It was not surprising that Baker thought he might have been elsewhere as Strength and Jim Cassidy took off down the back straight leading by 5L as they went past the 700m. King Of Olympia and Nash Rawiller were next and there was a further 2L to Lunar Rise and Hugh Bowman. Ninth Legion and Peter Robl were fourth with It’s A Dundeel and James McDonald still further back.
The field compressed again as they turned for the main straight and Strength had lost his as they headed up the rise with King Of Olympia taking over challenged by Lunar Rise. These two settled down for a good tussle but McDonald was coming hard on It’s A Dundeel down the middle of the track.
It’ A Dundeel went past the leading duo with ease at the 50m mark and then opened up a 1 1/4L margin in the space of a few strides for a comprehensive win.
Honorius (Holy Roman Emperor) and Glyn Schofield came into second with $3.30 favourite Lunar Rise (Starcraft) and Bowman staying on for third, the margin a head. King Of Olympia was fourth.
The time was 1.50.56 on the Dead 4 track with the final 600m in 36.76. It’s A Dundeel paid $3.80 on TAB.com.au. One wager on Lunar Rise on Fixed Odds was $20,000 @ $1.83 for a place.
“It was good to see those Kiwi’s getting out in front,” said Baker of Cassidy leading the charge.
“It is a sign of a good horse when they keep stepping up in grade as he did today. He produced a good sprint at the finish.
“He has to do it yet when he gets up to Group 1 level and hopefully we can get him down to Melbourne after the Spring Champion.
“He is a good colt and I thought that if there is speed on he would come home well,” he said.
Baker explained that in It’s A Dundeel’s only start in New Zealand that he drew the outside in a 1200m juvenile race at Ellerslie on April 9th and he still won by a length and he then knew he had a good horse plan for.
“He was last at the bend and he still buried them and we thought he had a bit of potential. And with there being no staying races past a mile (1600m) until the middle of December so it was either sell him or bring him here,” he said.
“I think he is a promising stayer and he should run the Derby distance,” he added.
The next step on that Derby trail is the $400,000, Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on October 6th with the $1.5m, Group 1 AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on November 3rd.
Baker, with son Bjorn, won the 2010 Victoria Derby with Lion Tamer (NZ).
Saturday’s win has forced TAB Fixed Odds to shorten his price in a handful of Futures markets, from $9 into $6.50 to take out the Spring Champion Stakes and $26.00 into $18.00 for the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas.
It's A Dundeel, picture sportpix.com.au
It’s A Dundeel is a colt by High Chaparral out of the Zabeel mare Stareel and the win made it four from four for owners A I Craig, Mrs W A Craig, M M Andersen, Mrs J P Andersen, M J Craig, Mrs S S Craig, D C Morison, Ms J E Morison, G P Chaplow, Mrs T P Andersen, M P Brown, Mrs J M Brown, T J Joyce, Mrs J Joyce, A M Muollo, Mrs G Muollo, D Focas and Mrs A F Focas.