The winning run of previously unbeaten Atlantic Jewel (5m Fastnet Rock x Regard, by Zabeel) came to an end at Caulfield on Saturday when she went under by a short head to last season’s outstanding three year-old colt It’s a Dundeel (4h High Chaparral x Stareel y Zabeel) in the Group I MRC Underwood Stakes.
The glamour daughter of Fastnet Rock cruised along in the lead for Michael Rodd, but she was stalked throughout by It’s a Dundeel, whose young Kiwi rider James McDonald was determined to keep the favourite well in his sights.
“He’s a different horse this prep. I loved how he just positioned up on the pace,” said James McDonald.
“It was a dog-fight. I could see her picking up the speed and I knew my horse would sustain a real good run to the line so I thought I’d put it to her 400 metres from home and make it a real test for her.
“Full credit to both horses, they battled it out really well.”
Winning trainer Murray Baker was clearly delighted.
“We thought he had improved vastly over the past couple of weeks, but we didn’t think we could beat Atlantic Jewel at 1800 metres,” Baker said.
“It was a special race, they are both very good horses.”
Not offered at auction and raced by a large syndicate of owners, It’s a Dundeel has the impressive record of nine wins and two seconds from 14 starts with prizemoney in excess of $2.3 million.
A half-brother to stakes-placed Twoeezy, he is one of five winners from Zabeel mare Stareel, who is a daughter of Group I New Zealand Oaks winner Staring.
High Chaparral also had a very good winner at Randwick in Photon Willie (4h High Chaparral x Sorestan, by Volksraad) and is in Australia this spring covering at a fee of $77,000.