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Dundeel ready for weight-for-age test
Caryl Williamson
06:30 AEST Wed Apr 24 2013

In an ominous warning to It's A Dundeel's future spring rivals, trainer Murray Baker says the colt won't hit his peak until he is a four-year-old.

Unlike his fellow star three-year-olds Pierro and All Too Hard, a stud career is at least another season away for the four-time Group One winner.

Pierro's owner Greg Kolivos is in negotiations for a stud deal after retiring the colt on Sunday while All Too Hard will join Vinery's stallion roster in the spring.

Both Pierro and All Too Hard have notched Group One weight-for-age wins this year while It's A Dundeel, winner of Sydney's three-year-old triple crown, makes his first foray against older horses in Saturday's Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick.

"He is bred to be a four-year-old," Baker said.

"He's by High Chaparral out of a Zabeel mare. That's a staying pedigree which says he will only get better as he gets older."

It's A Dundeel was at his most awesome in the Australian Derby, winning by six lengths without being asked to extend by James McDonald.

Michael Rodd takes the reins on Saturday replacing the suspended McDonald and Baker is pleased to have him aboard.

"Michael rode Prized Gem for me to win the Brisbane Cup when it was still a Group One race," Baker said.

"The horse has done well since the Derby so we're keen to have a go at weight-for-age."

Pierro's retirement has robbed the Queen Elizabeth of a clash between the two colts and It's A Dundeel is the lone three-year-old in the race.

"I was looking forward to taking him on," Baker said.

Instead, It's A Dundeel will be up against a strong contingent of former European horses including Manighar and Glass Harmonium who have won Group One races in Australia, and French Derby winner Reliable Man.

A Queen Elizabeth victory would make It's A Dundeel a serious contender for Australia's Horse of the Year.

It's A Dundeel's Derby win propelled him to favouritism for the Cox Plate in October. He is also the second favourite for the Melbourne Cup with Saintly in 1996 the last horse to complete the double.

This year's crop of three-year-olds has been declared the best since Saintly's classic year which included Octagonal and Nothin' Leica Dane.

The 2013 group includes Victoria Derby winner Fiveandahalfstar and runner-up Super Cool, both geldings who will be running next season.

After Saturday, It's A Dundeel will head home to New Zealand for a winter spell under Baker's watchful eye before returning to Australia for his spring racing.