Dundeel Earns 2012 Victoria Derby Target

Murray Baker’s progressive young colt Dundeel will target the Victoria Derby 2012 this Melbourne Cup Carnival having kicked off their spring campaign with an eye catching win at Wyong on Wednesday.

The High Chaparral three-year-old from New Zealand debuted at home at Ellerslie back in April with a win over 1200m when ridden by James McDonald.

McDonald retained the ride on Wednesday when Dundeel had their first run down under, the duo successful again this time defeating the Chris Waller-trained Kristy Lee by just a long neck in the Allan Denham Handicap (1350m) after coming from dead last to take the title in the final stride.

“He came round the bend on the wrong leg and did a few things wrong so I imagine there’s plenty of improvement to come with racing experience,” McDonald said after the win.

Baker, who trains in partnership with his now Sydney-based son Bjorn Baker, indicated the undefeated galloper would now head towards the $1.5 million Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington Racecourse on Saturday November 3.

The Bakers know what it takes to prepare a Victoria Derby winner too having enjoyed success in the classic with the ill-fated Lion Tamer back in 2010.

“To do what he did today proves that he is a very classy animal, only the good horses seem to win when they probably shouldn’t,” Bjorn Baker said on Wednesday.

“The speed of the race may have played in to his hands but he still had a lot against him.

“He only had one soft trial in New Zealand, he has only been here for a week and a tight-turning track like Wyong does not suit his style.

“James (McDonald) has a massive opinion of the horse, that was one of the main reasons he was here and I know he was certainly pleased with the performance.

“He had everything against him. He carried 58 (kg), Wyong was never going to suit him, it was too short, fresh up, but the good horses seem to come from nowhere and they surprise you.

“Lion Tamer did that a couple of years ago and hopefully this bloke can follow the same path.”

Dundeel’s exact spring carnival campaign is yet to be mapped out but their second-up mission has been confirmed as the $200,000 Group 3 Gloaming Stakes (1800m) at Royal Randwick on September 22.

“He is heading towards the Gloaming Stakes and Spring Champion but where he goes in between is the question,” Bjorn Baker said.

The $400,000 Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) runs on October 6 on Epsom Handicap Day.

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