Racing: It's A Dundeel too classy

Kiwi colt throws down the gauntlet to Proisir before their Spring Stakes clash.

Maybe that happy smile is James McDonald contemplating the Victoria Derby as It's A Dundeel deals to the Gloaming Stakes field at Randwick on Saturday. Photo / Supplied
Maybe that happy smile is James McDonald contemplating the Victoria Derby as It's A Dundeel deals to the Gloaming Stakes field at Randwick on Saturday. Photo / Supplied

The stage is set for a clash between two of the most exciting unbeaten 3-year-olds in training: Proisir and It's A Dundeel.

Proisir is the dashing frontrunner, It's A Dundeel the tough, grinding stayer and their showdown in the group one A$400,000 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) in two weeks will be one of the highlights of Epsom Handicap Day.

It's A Dundeel proved a worthy rival when he won his fourth race in as many starts in the group three A$200,000 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Randwick yesterday.

Murray Baker, one of New Zealand's leading trainers, knows his charge must improve further if he is to match it with Proisir.

"I don't know a lot about Proisir but he is obviously a very good horse," Baker told the Herald Sun "But It's A Dundeel is bred to stay and he keeps winning."

Ridden by James McDonald, It's A Dundeel ($4) appreciated the solid race tempo and finished powerfully to defeat Honorius ($7) by 1 lengths with the heavily backed Lunar Rise ($3.50 favourite) a head away third.

Baker has been winning feature Australian races for three decades, with the likes of The Phantom, My Eagle Eye, Prized Gem, Nom du Jeu and Lion Tamer, and he has unearthed another potential top-class stayer.

"It's A Dundeel keeps taking that next step and that is the sign of a good horse," he said.

"He will go to the Spring Champion Stakes next and then if he goes well in that race, I'll aim him at the Victoria Derby."

Baker won the Victoria Derby with the ill-fated Lion Tamer two years ago and he believes It's A Dundeel compares favourably with his former stable star. "Lion Tamer was very good but he had a few tricks.

"This horse is not quite there yet but he's tough."

Strength, ridden by Jim Cassidy, jumped to the front and ensured the race was a genuine staying test, which suited It's A Dundeel.

"I thought I was watching a steeplechase; they were strung out," Baker said.

"But the pace obviously suited It's A Dundeel and the best part of his race was the last 200m. He was very strong on the line."

It's A Dundeel is now trying to emulate Kingston Town (1979), Best Western (1981), Sir Dapper (1983), Magic Of Sydney (1996), Tie The Knot (1997) and Fairway (1999) as winners of the Gloaming Stakes-Spring Champion Stakes double.

Honorius finished his race off well to claim second, prompting jockey Glyn Schofield to declare the colt can turn the tables.

"I think Honorius can turn it around in the Spring Champion Stakes," Schofield said. "He will improve a lot with the run. But It's A Dundeel will be hard to beat again."

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf01 at 23 Nov 2014 13:59:29 Processing Time: 505ms