Cambridge-based New Zealand horseman Murray Baker earlier looked forced to withdraw his Cox Plate favourite It’s A Dundeel from the Caulfield Stakes 2013 entries for this Saturday with the super stallion found to be lame.
In an update however the clash between the top two Cox Plate favourites It’s A Dundeel and Atlantic Jewel could be back on the cards with the former given a chance to prove their fitness ahead of the weekend.
The $400,000 Group 1 Cathay Pacific Caulfield Stakes (2000m) was to be the all-important lead-up run for five-time Group 1 winning High Chaparral four-year-old It’s A Dundeel before they ran in the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 26.
Last seen winning the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) in a nail-biting upset over the previously undefeated Mark Kavanagh-trained mare Atlantic Jewel, It’s A Dundeel was yesterday one of 14 weight-for-age hopefuls nominated for the Caulfield Stakes.
Baker earlier confirmed however he would not be able to accept for the final field with the champion Kiwi suffering from a hoof abscess discovered on Saturday.
They were still lame when It’s A Dundeel went for a swim at Altona beach and so a rematch with current Cox Plate favourite Atlantic Jewel in the Caulfield was ruled out, Baker very frustrated as the setback would see his hero head towards the Cox Plate not at peak fitness
“It’s a real bugger – very, very frustrating,” Baker told The Daily Telegraph.
“He’s still a bit lame, we just need to allow time for the hoof to harden up.”
However after the abscess burst this morning, Racing Victoria chairman of stewards Terry Bailey said It’s A Dundeel could still run on the weekend if they proved their fitness to Baker in a Flemington gallop on Wednesday morning.
“The foot abscess burst at nine o’clock this morning (Monday) which is a good sign,” Bailey told the Herald Sun.
“The stable will make a calling in the next 24 hours if they will press ahead to the Caulfield Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
“The horse has not worked since last Thursday except for one lap of the Flemington grass track on Saturday morning when it pulled up sore.
“But he may well run if the trainer thinks the horse has done enough.
“He is a fit horse now and if he gallops on Wednesday morning he will still not be far away from what he would have done anyway.”
If they have to abandon the Cox Plate altogether Baker confirmed It’s A Dundeel would then run in the $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on Victoria Derby Day, November 2.
With It’s A Dundeel out of the mix, the Caulfield Stakes would look to be Atlantic Jewel’s for the taking.
Still the rest of her rivals won’t be going down without a fight, including It’s A Dundeel if the rematch is back on.
It’s certainly an imposing line-up with other top name nominees including the Chris Waller-trained Makybe Diva Stakes winner Foreteller, Mark Kavanagh’s Australian Cup champ Super Cool looking to improve on their ninth in the Turnbull last Saturday, recent JRA Cup runner-up Gris Caro, the reigning Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon and their stablemate Sea Moon.
Melbourne Cup-bound Sea Moon suffered a blow last Saturday at Flemington when first over the line in the Listed The Bart Cummings (2520m) but regulated to second after a protest by original runner-up’s jockey Glen Boss (on Araldo) was upheld.
Owner Lloyd Williams has also nominated the Beat Hollow stallion Sea Moon for Saturday’s $220,000 Group 2 Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) which would seem a better option based on the distance.
See below for the complete Caulfield Stakes 2013 nominations, with acceptances for the Cox Plate preparatory race to be released on Wednesday.
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2013 Caulfield Stakes Nominations
Caulfield Racecourse – 12/10/2013
|1||FORETELLER (GB)||Chris Waller||5||59kg||112|
|2||GREEN MOON (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||1||59kg||116|
|3||GRIS CARO (GB)||Jake Stephens||11||59kg||97|
|4||MASSIYN (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||13||59kg||100|
|5||SEA MOON (GB)||Robert Hickmott||7||59kg||113|
|7||TREVIERES (FR)||Markus Nigge||10||59kg||99|
|8||BASS STRAIT (NZ)||David Hayes||12||58kg||93|
|9||IT’S A DUNDEEL (NZ)||Murray Baker||2||58kg||117|
|10||STAR ROLLING||Peter Morgan & Craig Widdison||8||58kg||94|
|11||SUPER COOL||Mark Kavanagh||6||58kg||112|
|12||ATLANTIC JEWEL||Mark Kavanagh||4||57kg||117|
|13||DEAR DEMI||Clarry Conners||3||56kg||106|
|14||LET’S MAKE ADEAL||Nigel Blackiston||14||56kg||91|