2014 Chipping Norton Stakes First-Up for It’s A Dundeel

Following a reported $10 million Arrowfield Stud deal for the majority share in the Murray Baker-trained It’s A Dundeel, the four time winning New Zealander will be back down under for a first-up shot at the Chipping Norton Stakes 2014 in the autumn.

It's A Dundeel

Star New Zealander It's A Dundeel will target four Group 1 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival 2014 races. Photo: Race Horse Photos Australia.

Back in September John Messara’s Arrowfield Stud secured a 30 percent share of talented High Chaparral stallion It’s A Dundeel.

This week however the syndication purchased more of the galloper and are now the majority shareholders of the $2.47 million earner owning 50%.

The horse’s Cambridge-based trainer Baker has confirmed though that the deal will not affect their Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival plans.

Set to return to work at the end of next week, It’s A Dundeel is still on track for a resuming run in the $350,000 Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on March 8.

Their major autumn assignment though will be the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 26, the weight-for-age classic worth a very rewarding $4 million this season.

In total It’s A Dundeel will target four Group 1 races next prep, all of which will be in Sydney with Baker ruling out a focus on the Melbourne Festival of Racing.

“We are concentrating on Sydney next autumn, the horse is not going to Melbourne,” Baker told The Daily Telegraph from New Zealand.

Their other two targets will be the $400,000 Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill on March 22 and the $2.25 million Group 1 The BMW (2400m) back at the track on April 5.

The horse certainly has a great record in Sydney having won seven of the nine starts in New South Wales.

Included in those victories was the treble this autumn that skyrocketed them into the big time, It’s A Dundeel completing the 3YO Triple Crown with wins in the Randwick Guineas, Rosehill Guineas and then their six length romp in the $1.5 million Australian Derby (2400m).

They also ran in this year’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes when running two and a half lengths away second as the beaten favourite behind the Chris Waller-trained Reliable Man.

Worth only half a million in stakes this autumn gone, the Queen Elizabeth Stakes’ lucrative offerings next autumn are part of the reason Baker is staying in Sydney with his stable ace.

“The prize money in Sydney is too good to ignore, it is exceptional,” he said.

“If you have a horse with ability you have to aim for Sydney in the autumn.

“The trainers in New Zealand look back over the ditch at you guys with envy – we might have the All Blacks but you have the stakes money.”

After a second-up win in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) over Atlantic Jewel at Caulfield this September, the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) run of It’s A Dundeel’s was hampered by a hoof injury in the lead-up.

The injury and work they missed prevented them from finishing better than eighth behind upset three-year-old winner Shamus Award, but all reports are that they have fully recovered from the setback.

“The horse has had a good rest at the ‘Cambridge Hilton’ and looks super,” Baker said.

“I’ll bring him back in next week and then start to get him ready for Sydney.”

Baker also hasn’t ruled out an international campaign for the horse in June with a trip to Royal Ascot for the 2014 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes still being considered.

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