While Cox Plate hopeful It’s A Dundeel has largely turned the corner in his bid for Australia’s most important weight-for-age event, he is still far from certain to contest the Caulfield Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday – a key lead-up race.
Just an hour after Racing Victoria stewards examined It’s A Dundeel at his Flemington stable on Monday, a hoof abscess that had been troubling the four-year-old since last week finally burst.
Chief steward Terry Bailey said trainer Murray Baker’s veterinary surgeon had advised that a three-quarter shoe had been applied to the troubled near-fore hoof so It’s A Dundeel could trot and canter in beachwork on Tuesday.
”The stable have informed me they are hoping It’s A Dundeel, if all is well, will gallop on Wednesday morning and be fit to take its place in the Caulfield Stakes,” Bailey said.
The stable tried to give It’s A Dundeel a light workout on Saturday but his leg was still too sore. The Sydney triple crown winner has not worked since Thursday.
Baker has arrived in Australia from New Zealand and will make the final call on whether the stallion starts on Saturday.
It’s A Dundeel thundered to the top of Cox Plate markets after a hard-fought victory over Atlantic Jewel in the Underwood Stakes last month, with Saturday’s return bout one of the most anticipated contests of the spring.
Bailey also advised that Caulfield Guineas contender Aussies Love Sport was ”very lame” at trainer Gai Waterhouse’s Flemington stables on Monday and in serious doubt for Saturday’s group 1 classic.
The horse sustained an injury in the float on the way to Melbourne from Sydney.
Bookmaking firm Betstar confirmed on Monday that It’s A Dundeel had been a dramatic drifter in Cox Plate betting since news broke of his injury setback on Saturday.
It’s A Dundeel was a firm $3.60 equal favourite with Atlantic Jewel but is now out to $4.20 while Atlantic Jewel has firmed into $3.
”It’s an understandable reaction by punters as we are very close to the Cox Plate and to miss any work is a major problem,” said Betstar principal Alan Eskander on Monday.
Atlantic Jewel worked well on Saturday morning in preparation for the Caulfield Stakes, and trainer Mark Kavanagh is certain the five-year-old mare will strip a lot fitter than she was when she suffered her first defeat in the Underwood Stakes.
Meanwhile, leading jockey Craig Williams on Monday failed in his appeal against the severity of a 10-meeting suspension incurred for his winning ride on Anatina in the Cap D’Antibes Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.
Despite Williams believing there were contributing factors to the interference and it was a low-grade offence, the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary Board dismissed his appeal.
It will mean he will miss the ride on the Danny O’Brien-trained Shamus Award in the Caulfield Guineas on Saturday.
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.