Blinkers do the trick for It's A Dundeel in Guineas
Report: Australia, Saturday
Warwick Farm (Sydney): Royal Randwick Guineas (Group 1) 1m, turf, 3yo
A MASTERSTROKE to fit blinkers on It's A Dundeel (Murray Baker/James McDonald) helped the colt to a barnstorming win in the Randwick Guineas at Warwick Farm, the first leg of the autumn triple crown for three-year-olds.
His veteran New Zealand trainer Murray Baker believed the blinkers would help the notorious backmarker stay in touch with the field early in Saturday's Group 1 Guineas (1600m).
The plan worked with It's A Dundeel ($6.50) settling better than midfield with Tatra ($26) out in front just ahead of Tougher Than Ever ($10), Proisir ($3.50) and favourite Rebel Dane ($2.80).
James McDonald called on It's A Dundeel at the top of the straight and he unleashed a powerhouse sprint to beat Proisir by a half length with another two-and-three-quarter lengths to Tatra.
"I thought the blinkers would help, especially at Warwick Farm," Baker said.
"He's worked in them on and off in New Zealand but it's hard to tell because he doesn't do much on the track.
"It's nice to know he can race in them but whether we keep them on or not we'll decide later.
"I knew once he got to the front they wouldn't peg him back."
It's A Dundeel started favourite in the Victoria Derby in the spring but was unplaced behind Fiveandahalfstar.
The Australian Derby at Randwick on April 13 is the one Baker is after with the Rosehill Guineas (2000m) his next mission.
Baker won the 2008 Derby with Nom Du Jeu when he trained in partnership with his son Bjorn who is now domiciled in Sydney at Warwick Farm.
Although happy for his son to look after the colt temporarily, Baker made the trip across the Tasman on Saturday just to make sure everyone knew who was in charge.
"I hadn't seen him for a month and he looks to have furnished even more," Baker said.
"But Bjorn wasn't going to get the credit.
"I love racing my horses here. The money's good, the jockeys are good and I wish someone would send some to New Zealand and show them how it's done."
Baker said the Rosehill Guineas in two weeks would be It's A Dundeel's next start and the bigger track would suit the colt.
"I will keep him to the three-year-old races," he said.
"He's bred to win them."
McDonald said It's A Dundeel would only improve as the distances got longer.
"Over 2000 metres you will see a brilliant horse," he said.
"He feels so much stronger.
"This time in he wants to be a racehorse. Last spring he was a big baby."
Rebel Dane failed to show his customary finishing burst but still held on well to finish fourth.
Darley trainer Peter Snowden said Tatra and Solemn (ninth) would also head to the triple crown races - Rosehill Guineas and Derby - while Proverb would drop in grade to the Group Two Tulloch Stakes on April 6.