The second leg of the Sydney autumn Triple Crown, Saturday’s Rosehill Guineas, may well be a done deal.
Murray Baker, the New Zealand horseman of international experience, cannot fault the first leg winner It’s A Dundeel.
The homebred colt is a dual group 1 winner in Australia having won the Spring Champion Stakes back in October while he thumped rivals in the Canterbury Guineas which was the first leg of the Triple Crown.
“I was more than happy with what I saw this morning,” Baker said on Friday on the eve of the latest group 1 assignment.
Following the Randwick Guineas win at Warwick Farm a fortnight ago Baker returned home to oversee 60 horses he has in work in New Zealand where he currently sits third on the premiership.
“Emily Murphy looks after him while I’m not here and she is outstanding,” Baker said.
“She is very good, I speak to her every day. I hadn’t seen him until this morning and he looks content.
“He looks very good, he looks as good as I’ve ever seen him, a very healthy horse.
“Just his coat, he is bright in the eye, very relaxed, a laid back horse, a happy horse and that’s the most important thing.”
It’s A Dundeel is another top class performer bred by Baker loyalist Murray Andersen.
“He is an owner breeder and a long term client of mine,” Baker said.
“We’ve had horses for 25 to 30 years.”
And Baker isn’t about to concede It’s A Dundeel is the best of them. Not likely when Baker reports Andersen has raced the likes of “The Phantom, My Eagle Eye, a Sydney Cup winner, Nom du Jeu and Lion Tamer”.
“He [It’s A Dundeel] is certainly up there but at this stage I’d say he is a promising horse,” Baker said.
Following the Canterbury Guineas demolition It’s A Dundeel has been installed an odds on favourite to claim the Rosehill equivalent.
“It will be a tough race, there are no easy races in Australia and they come from everywhere for group 1s,” Baker said.
“You never know, you go into group 1s apprehensive but he does look well,” Baker said.
Of course, the ultimate target for It’s A Dundeel, which will be ridden once again by gun Kiwi jockey James McDonald is the ATC Australian Derby at Randwick in a fortnight’s time.
Asked about next weekend’s group 1 The BMW Stakes Baker replied “I doubt it” and added “the derby is the one”.
By Craig Young