It’s A Dundeel made history in Arrowfield’s famous black-and-yellow diamond silks on Saturday when he swept to his sixth Group 1 victory in the $4 million ATC Queen Elizabeth Stakes over 2000 metres at Royal Randwick.
A perfect climax to the first presentation of The Championships, the race matched its billing as the weight-for-age grand final of the Australian season.
It’s A Dundeel contributed to the drama when he slipped in the tie-up stalls before the race and lacerated his near hind fetlock and pastern. Passed fit to start by the stewards, he bounced brightly from barrier 1 and settled beautifully for James McDonald behind Carlton House and My Kingdom Of Fife, with the favourite Silent Achiever tracking him in fourth position.
As the field approached the turn, It’s A Dundeel began to ease forward. He got the better of My Kingdom Of Fife around the 400-metre mark, then set sail for the lead which he claimed from the resolute Carlton House 150 metres from home. Meanwhile, the outstanding two-time Doncaster Mile winner Sacred Falls had punched through from near the back of the field to challenge for the lead and the race, but It’s A Dundeel immediately answered McDonald’s call for a final championship kick to win by almost a length in 2:03.72.
Carlton House fought on well for third, 3 lengths away, with Silent Achiever fourth and Royal Descent (by Redoute’s Choice) fifth.
McDonald said, “We’ve worked all the autumn for this. When he worked on Tuesday, I got off and said they don’t work as good as the way he works, he was back to his best and it was so good to win today. This horse has taken me to heights I never thought I’d reach.”
It’s A Dundeel (High Chaparral-Stareel by Zabeel) was bred in New Zealand by Murray & Jo Andersen and is trained by Murray Baker for the partnership headed by Arrowfield, along with the Andersens and their original co-owners Tracy Andersen, Gavin Chaplow, Sharyn & Mike Craig, Tony & Wendy Craig, David & Jenny Morison, Tony Muollo & Dino Focas.
It’s A Dundeel has now won six Group 1 races from 1600 to 2400 metres across four campaigns at three and four. In all, he has won 10 and placed in five of his 19 starts, and today’s win takes his career prizemoney to $5,392,165.
The Queen Elizabeth Stakes was the fourth start this Autumn for It’s A Dundeel, after placings in the Chipping Norton S. 1600m G1, Ranvet S. 2000m G1 and The BMW 2400m G1. Today’s victory and his defeat of the previously unbeaten Atlantic Jewel in last Spring’s 1800-metre Underwood S. G1 surely make him a leading contender for both Australian & New Zealand Horse of the Year titles.