Dundeel home for a well-earned rest

Dundeel, the star of Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman’s stable, is due back in New Zealand today after his three-race Melbourne spring campaign.

“When he gets back he’ll be going out to Henley Park to spell for five weeks then we’ll get him back in and prepare to take him back to Australia for Sydney in the autumn,” said Baker. “He’ll go straight there without racing here.”

Dundeel, who races in Australia as It’s A Dundeel, finished fourth fresh-up in the Gr. 1 Memsie Stakes at Caulfield on August 31 then became the only horse to beat the champion Atlantic Jewel when turning the tables on his Memsie conqueror in the Gr. 1 Underwood Stakes.

It was well-documented over the battle Baker’s travelling foreman Emily Murphy had fighting a foot abscess suffered by Dundeel to get him to last Saturday’s Gr. 1 $A3 million Cox Plate at Moonee Valley. The setback ruled out a lead-up run in the Caulfield Stakes.

Despite the problem, Dundeel started favourite last Saturday, but could do no better than eighth, five and three-quarter lengths behind the maiden winner, Shamus Award.

“He got trapped too wide and whenever James (McDonald) tried to get in a bit he was held out,” said Baker. “Things just didn’t work out for him and the hampered preparation didn’t help.

“Still, James didn’t knock him around when he couldn’t be in it and the horse still earned $100,000 for eighth.  He’ll bounce back.”

Orion, the other Melbourne contender from the Baker – Forsman stable, is also on the Auckland-bound flight.

He left New Zealand as an impressive juvenile winner on debut at Te Rapa last March, but his best result in four Melbourne starts was a second over 1500 metres at Moonee Valley second-up. His latest effort was in the Gr. 3 Norman Robinson Stakes at Caulfield on October 19 when finishing last, almost 19 lengths from the winner, Polanski.

“He got a bit of a bump on the bend last time, but was disappointing,” said Baker. “He’s much better than that.”

Meanwhile Baker and Forsman will be concentrating on local racing this weekend with the reappearance of Lady Kipling in $15,000 Tauranga Hardware and Plumbing Centennial 1300 at Tauranga tomorrow being the main focus.

Lady Kipling was one of the local stars for the stable last season, but is expected to benefit a lot from tomorrow’s race, in which she will carry the topweight of 60kg and be ridden by Opie Bosson.

“She’s pretty big in condition and will need it,” said Baker. “She’s got to start somewhere and this looks a good race. She will then either go back to Tauranga in a fortnight or to the Breeders Stakes at Pukekohe. She won it (the latter event) last year.”