The decision to upgrade the 2013 Memsie Stakes (1400m) to Group 1 status is set to reap early dividends, with superstar galloper It’s A Dundeel to begin his Cox Plate campaign in the $350,000 event.
The New Zealand pocket rocket was one of the stars of the autumn – claiming Sydney’s three-year-old triple crown – and trainer Murray Baker is chasing even bigger honours this spring.
While the $3 million Cox Plate is the major spring goal, Baker said the Memsie has appeal as a Group 1 win over 1400m would demonstrate his stable star’s versatility and in turn enhance his stud prospects.
“With the Memsie now a Group 1 it certainly influenced our decision, being a colt if he could win a Group 1 over 1400 it would be great for his future prospects at stud,” Baker said.
The Memsie is due to take place on August 31 and will be the first of many Group 1 targets for the winner of more than $2 million in prizemoney.
Baker said the rising four-year-old has been back in work for a month and has developed physically ahead of a campaign that will also include the Underwood Stakes and the Caulfield Stakes.
The experienced New Zealand trainer will chase his second Memsie Stakes success after winning the race with The Phantom in 1990.
“I won the Memsie in 1990 with The Phantom and it would be great to win it again, especially now that it’s a Group 1,” he said.
While It’s A Dundeel’s best form has obviously been over longer distances, Baker points to his first-up fourth behind Pierro as a reason to be confident he can win in the top grade over 1400m.
“He ran a real beauty in the Hobartville and he was rocketing home but he didn’t have the blinkers on,” Baker said.
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