Victoria Derby favourite It’s A Dundeel will face a field of just six rivals on Cox Plate Day at Moonee Valley this Saturday with the unbeaten New Zealander having scared off the bulk of the competition for the Moonee Valley Vase 2012.
Due to run as Moonee Valley Race 5 at 3:20pm (AEST) and registered this year as the Mitchelton Wines Vase, the $220,000 Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) is a traditional lead-up to the $1.5 million AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington on Saturday November 3 during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
This year there’s an odds-on favourite for the Vase – Derby double with the flying Murray Baker-trained It’s A Dundeel.
The High Chaparral colt has won all five of their career starts to date, the last four of which were in Sydney, and is already a Group 1 winner having defeated Saturday’s Cox Plate hopefuls Proisir in the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick at the start of the month.
Drawn in barrier five on Saturday with regular rider James McDonald to maintain their association, It’s A Dundeel is sure to jump as the shortie in the markets despite it being their first ever run in Victoria.
If successful their already odds-on price of around $1.95 in the futures Victoria Derby odds are also set to firm further, the horse facing a short seven-day turnaround going from the Vase to the Derby.
“You’ve only got so many bullets,” Baker said.
“But in the end I feel he needs the experience left-handed and he’ll get that on Saturday.
“He should handle another run, especially since he’s done so well since coming here.
“Colts can do that with a change of environment.
“He is feeling very fresh and good about himself, he was prancing around this morning and I’m glad he is running because you don’t want him to be like that on Derby Day.
“This run should just take the edge off him and even though he is a small horse, he doesn’t feel like one underneath me and I can’t see the back-up troubling him.
“I ran (2010 Victoria Derby winner) Lion Tamer here before the Derby and it really tuned him right up.
“We were just weighing up whether he needed the run, otherwise it was going to be four weeks between races, and he hadn’t raced left-handed before so we just thought to be on the safe side.
“He has trialled left-handed in New Zealand and he’s done a lot of work, but that’s not like a race. He hasn’t backed up in his career but we’ve had no trouble with him coming through races.”
The other notable 2012 Victoria Derby-bound three-year-olds in the Moonee Valley Vase field this year include Nisos in barrier three with Craig Williams to ride, and the Mark Kavanagh-trained Super Cool in gate four.
Excellent Art gelding Nisos is still a maiden after six starts but finished their closest yet last time out when a quarter length away third in the Listed Hill Smith Stakes (1800m) at Morphettville and are tipped to improve as they go up in distance.
Super Cool meanwhile also comes off a nice minor placing when second over the Caulfield mile on Thousand Guineas Day, the Fastnet Rock gelding also racing over the 2000m for the first time this weekend.
Kavanagh has also accepted for his Iffraaj colt If I Could who ran fifth in the Hill Smith Stakes last time out.
Rounding out the diminutive MV Vase line-up are then the in-form Viking Star in the far outside barrier who ran second in the Hill Smith, Mornington outsider Bullion Express and the David Hayes-trained Prisoner Of War who ran fourth in the Hill Smith.
Check out the full 2012 Mitchelton Wines Vase field, barriers and jockeys in the table below.
To back a winner this Cox Plate Day and access the upcoming Group 1 odds for events like the Victoria Derby and Melbourne Cup, make sure you have an account with bookmaker.com.au – home of the famous ‘Pick Your Own Odds’ markets!
2012 Mitchelton Wines Vase Final Field & Barrier Draw
Moonee Valley Race 5 – 3:20pm (AEST) – 27/10/2012
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||1×1111||IT’S A DUNDEEL (NZ)||Murray Baker||James McDonald||5||57kg||106|
|2||16×4112||VIKING STAR||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Ms Clare Lindop||7||57kg||74|
|3||28×7175||IF I COULD (NZ)||Mark Kavanagh||Damien Oliver||6||57kg||64|
|4||6×142||SUPER COOL||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||4||57kg||67|
|5||48×241339||BULLION EXPRESS||Dean Binaisse||Vlad Duric||2||57kg||60|
|6||6×851634||PRISONER OF WAR||David Hayes||Chad Schofield (a)||1||57kg||62|
|7||734×253||NISOS||Paul Rocke||Craig Williams||3||57kg||62|