A dominant winner of the Group I ATC Australian Derby 12 months ago, outstanding entire It’s a Dundeel (4h High Chaparral x Stareel, by Zabeel) returned to his sparkling best at Randwick on Saturday to score a sensational victory in the $4million Group I Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
The charismatic bay made light of an earlier incident in the day when he slipped over in the raceday stalls, parading before the main event with his usual swagger.
Not a big horse by any means, It’s a Dundeel is all quality and is always an easy one to pick out of any line-up for all the right reasons.
A strong finishing second at his previous run behind Silent Achiever in the Group I BMW, It’s a Dundeel stripped fitter for that hit out and was ready to rumble.
With regular partner James McDonald on board, the Murray Baker trained four year-old stalked the leaders in third place before unleashing a brilliant turn of foot to reel them in and race clear to win the 2000 metre feature by the best part of a length over last Saturday’s Doncaster hero Sacred Falls.
“The plan has always been this race, to have him peaking for the race today,” trainer Murray Baker said.
“His work on Tuesday was nothing short of sensational and we knew we’d see the real It’s A Dundeel here.”
It was the sixth Group I victory for It’s a Dundeel, who has the overall record of 10 wins and five placings from 19 starts with prizemoney of $5.3 million.
“I knew after that gallop on Tuesday he’d be ready to run the race of his life,” James McDonald said.
“He was too strong and that’s what we’ve been waiting for. He’s a champion racehorse when he’s at his top and we saw that today.”
Bred by Murray Andersen, who also bred and raced his mother and grand-mother, It’s a Dundeel is a half-brother to stakes-placed Twoeezy and is one of five winners from Zabeel mare Stareel, who is a daughter of Group I New Zealand Oaks winner Staring.
An English Derby winning son of Sadler’s Wells, It’s a Dundeel’s sire High Chaparral has proven a huge success leaving 54 stakes-winners worldwide
He covered 177 mares last spring in Australia at a fee of $77,000 including Stareel, the dam of It’s a Dundeel.
Turning 14 this year, Stareel also has a weanling colt from the first crop of another English Derby winner in Pour Moi.