More pressure on Baker’s star

More pressure has been put on the (It’s A) Dundeel camp with the withdrawal of BMW winner Fiveandahalfstar from Saturday’s $A1.5 million Australian Derby at Randwick.

Fiveandahalfstar has failed to recover from a ricked fetlock he suffered in his defeat of Cambridge gallopers Silent Achiever and Sangster at Rosehill last Saturday.

“He has a sprained off-fore fetlock and we were hoping he would be okay for the Derby but the injury has not settled down quickly enough,” Cummings told the media.

“We could have pushed on, but it would have been a risk and the owners do not want to take any risks so he is out of the Derby and will go for a good spell.”

Fiveandahalfstar’s absence from the Derby lineup has left Dundeel, who will start from barrier eight in the 10-horse field, at the cramped odds of $1.25.

“It’s still nerve-wracking to have a horse so short for a Group One,” said Dundeel’s trainer, Murray Baker. “The Aussie media has been on the phone since they found out Fiveandahalfstar was out of the Derby and it’s put more pressure on us. “

Baker won the 2008 AJC Derby with Nom du Jeu, but wasn’t getting the same pre-race pressure from the media as he is with Dundeel.

“Nom du Jeu had to be scratched from the Rosehill Guineas because of a fluctuating temperature as a result of his EI injection and he hadn’t raced for a month when he went into the Derby,” Baker recalled. “Dundeel has been in the spotlight right through.”

Baker will return to Sydney on Thursday morning and in the meantime Dundeel has been in the care of his son, Bjorn, who trains at Warwick Farm. “We’re pretty happy with him,” said Baker. “He’s done well since the Rosehill Guineas.”

If Dundeel lives up to expectations on Saturday he could have one further Sydney start, in the Group I Queen Elizabeth Randwick Stakes.

“It’ll only be his fourth run in this campaign when he starts in the Derby so he’s not over-raced,” said Baker. “We’ll just see what happens and if he’s all right he could run in the Queen Elizabeth then go out for a spell.”