Racing: Talk of bigger deal

By Anendra Singh

The colt barely breaks into a sweat every time he breezes past a field to cross the line but he's far from a done deal for the syndicate winners.

Breeders Murray and Jo Andersen, of Havelock North, are among the 18 syndicate owners from New Zealand and Australia who are bracing themselves for multi-million-dollar proposals for the sale of Dundeel, or It's a Dundeel, since the 3-year-old started competing in Australia last year.

After the Andersens arrived home from Sydney last night, with eight other Hawke's Bay shareholders, they had watched the replay of the super colt about 15 times.

The footage was frozen on the giant plasma screen in the lounge of Sharyn and Michael Craig (Murray's sister) and somehow you got the impression they weren't done watching the Australian Derby as jubilant jockey James McDonald punched the air in triumph seconds after the colt crossed the line six lengths ahead of Philippi.

In doing so, It's A Dundeel became only the fifth horse to claim Sydney's 3-year-old triple crown.

If it seemed like McDonald was restraining himself on the horse to execute the victory salute then it's probably a fair assumption because the Kiwi jockey copped a fine a fortnight ago at the Golden Slippers for putting the stipes' noses out of joint when he broke protocol by celebrating before the finish line but then, who could blame him?

Michael Craig revealed some of the syndicate owners had barely slept in the days leading to the big race.

A restaurant they went to in Sydney -- the Craigs, the Andersens, their daughter Tracy Andersen and husband Gavin Chaplow and the Craigs' neighbours Jenny and Dave Morison, who all own a percentage of the horse -- had printed "Go, It's A Dundeel!" on its menu.

Just this year alone, the colt has won more than $2 million, and studs from the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand are already making multi-million-dollar offers for the fifth foal of Stareel, sired by High Chaparral in Cambridge.

"What's likely to happen is after his next start he'll be sold but his new owners will continue with him as a 4-year-old," said Andersen, 64, of the colt who will line up next with Australian jockey Michael Rodd in the A$500,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes in the 2000m weight-for-age race against older horses on April 27 at Randwick.

The Cox Plate in Melbourne in October is also likely to be on the agenda but the owners here (with the remaining 50 per cent from Wellington and Australia) will want to keep some shares in It's A Dundeel.

"I'd like to give him a start in the [Hawke's Bay] Spring Carnival before he goes back Australia for his 4-year-old campaign," he said after returning with the A$20,000 trophy from Randwick.

"I keep all the trophies, that's the deal," Andersen said with a grin after the colt claimed four group ones in Sydney and the pundits drew comparisons with mare/sprinter Black Caviar who stole the media headlines there.

It's A Dundeel joined other superstars of their classic years to complete the triple crown - Moorland (1943) Martello Towers (1959), Imagele (1973) and Octagonal (1996) - and is the equal favourite in most markets for the Cox Plate.

As a foal he looked small but "correct" - in racing parlance to denote straight legs and minus other oddities - and that concerned his shareholders.

With 40 years of breeding, Andersen knew Stareel's Bay progeny had a propensity for a latent spurt like the four before him who were all winners.

"He's 15.3 hands high but he could be 16," he said, claiming It's a Dundeel was immature when he won his maiden and only race in New Zealand, the 1200m DJ O'Sullivan Salver, at Ellerslie as a 2-year-old on April 9.

To trace the bloodlines, Stareel, who picked up a paddock injury and couldn't race, is a foal off Staring, sired by one of the best Kiwi stallions, Zabeel.

Staring, who was the Filly of the Year in 1988, was the product of a mare mated with Fiesta Star, a stallion Andersen and Arthur Ormond imported when they were running a stud farm.

"I'll never get a horse like that again," said a smiling Andersen.

Ideally, with Dundeel's class it begs the question if  Stareel and High Chaparral will be mated again for another hybrid winner.

To put it inperspective, Andersen said they paid a fee of $17,500 for the birth of Dundeel in Cambridge but now High Chaparral's asking price as a stud was in the vicinity of $110,000. 

Trainer Murray Baker told the owners, who paid $13,500 each (10 percent of the total syndicate share),  Dundeel (who had to be called It's A Dundeel in Australia where a horse already has that name) was too special to remain in New Zealand where the stakes prizemoney is "poor".

Stareel has a yearling filly, sired by Nom de Jeu and a weanling (a foal taken away from the mother) by the same stud.

She is now in foal to Pour Moi, a 2011 derby winner.

A smiling Andersen puts his success down to luck as a breeder and owner.

"Some people never win races. It's a cost of intuition so Dundeel is a horse of a lifetime."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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