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Many in the racing world are already talking as if the 2013 Australian Derby (2400m) is a forgone conclusion with It’s A Dundeel but the favourite’s rivals won’t be dying wondering.
The New Zealand colt may have lost his major challenger when Fiveandahalfstar succumbed to a leg injury but the likes of Hippopus will be out to test It’s A Dundeel.
Trained by Gai Waterhouse, Hippopus runs in a style typical of her horses, adopting a positive racing pattern from the outset.
Waterhouse racing manager Bruce Slade told AAP it will be their intention to make it as difficult as possible for It’s A Dundeel to capture Sydney’s 3YO triple crown.
“Hippopus is a genuine mile-and-a-half horse and we will definitely be positive from the start,” Slade said.
“We will be out to make it a true run race…we will be making it a genuine test.”
Hippopus is backing up from a runner-up finish in the Group 2 Tulloch Stakes which came on the back of consecutive victories in restricted grade at Canterbury.
While It’s A Dundeel is a $1.25 chance to claim a third consecutive Group 1 after taking out both the Randwick and Rosehill Guineas, there remains a query over his ability at 2400m.
He has been powerful to the line in 2000m races but struggled to finish seventh in the Victoria Derby at his only test at a longer trip during the spring.
Also stepping up to take on Murray Baker’s classy colt is Victorian galloper Philippi who was strong when winning the Tulloch Stakes by three lengths on the weekend.
Philippi’s trip to the Derby is the end result of a long range plan by trainer Mick Kent who elected to skip the Victorian Derby in the spring.
“We planned to do it, we’re here, he won well [in the Tulloch] and we want to test him at a mile and a half,” Kent said.
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