Dundeel crowned NZ Horse of the Year

Dundeel added the final diamond to his champion’s crown when he was named the 2013/14 New Zealand Horse of the Year at the NZ Thoroughbred Racing Awards dinner in Hamilton on Thursday evening.

Dundeel, also named Champion Middle Distance Horse, was the world’s highest-rated New Zealand-bred horse last season, with an international figure of 122 and a Timeform rating of 129, both figures surpassed in Australia only by world champion sprinter Lankan Rupee. 

The voting panel’s verdict was decisive in Dundeel’s favour, with 28 votes cast for him and 18 votes for the outstanding mare Silent Achiever, who was recognised as New Zealand’s Champion Stayer.

Dundeel’s dam Stareel (Zabeel-Staring by Fiesta Star) was named Broodmare of the Year and that award was accepted by Murray and Jo Andersen who bred the sensational son of High Chaparral and raced him as part of the TransTasman Syndicate. Stareel visits champion sire Redoute’s Choice this Spring.

Murray described the award as a “dream come true. He has been a sensational horse, great for New Zealand and this is the pinnacle,”

Dundeel delivered two of Australia’s very best performances last season, beating the previously unbeaten champion mare Atlantic Jewel in the MRC Underwood S. G1 in the Spring, and returning in the Autumn to defeat Sacred Falls, Carlton House and Silent Achiever in the ATC Queen Elizabeth S. G1.

He retired to Arrowfield Stud with a record of 10 wins (six at Group 1 level), five placings (four in Group 1 company) & $5.3 million from 19 starts at two, three and four.

Dundeel will parade for the first time since his retirement at the Arrowfield Stallion Open House, 21-24 August – click here for more information.

Dundeel rated world's best NZ-bred performer

Six-time Group 1 winner Dundeel has been confirmed as the world’s best New Zealand-bred performer this season with an international rating of 122.

The latest LONGINES World’s Best Racehorse Rankings were released on Thursday by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities – click here for the list.

The 4YO son of High Chaparral and Stareel lowered the colours of previously unbeaten champion mare Atlantic Jewel in September’s MRC Underwood S. G1 over 1800 metres, and returned in the Autumn to defeat Sacred Falls, Carlton House and Silent Achiever in the ATC Queen Elizabeth S. G1.

The latter performance, in which Dundeel kicked clear off a punishing pace, ranks him second only to northern hemisphere 4YO Magician among the world’s best entires over 2000 metres on turf. Magician split two outstanding mares, The Fugue and Treve in last month’s Royal Ascot Prince of Wales’s S. G1 to earn a figure of 123.

In Australia and New Zealand, only the world’s top-rated sprinter Lankan Rupee (123), bred and raced in Australia by Teeley Assets, ranks above Dundeel, who joins Lankan Rupee’s champion sire Redoute’s Choice on the Arrowfield Stud roster this Spring. Dundeel retires with 10 wins, five placings and $5.3 million prizemoney from 19 starts at 2, 3 and four.

Sacred Falls is the only other Australasian performer to make the leading group of horses on the published world rankings with a figure of 120. He won the 1600-metre ATC Doncaster H. G1 for the second time this season, but has been rated on his Queen Elizabeth second behind Dundeel, in the Intermediate category (1900m-2100m).

Dundeel was bred in New Zealand by Hawke’s Bay couple Murray & Jo Andersen who raced him with Arrowfield, Tracy Andersen, Gavin Chaplow, Sharyn & Mike Craig, Tony & Wendy Craig, David & Jenny Morison, Tony Muollo & Dino Focas. He was prepared for that partnership by leading New Zealand trainers Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman, and ridden in all but one of his 19 career starts by the brilliant young Kiwi jockey James McDonald.

Te Rapa raceday celebrates Dundeel

All but one of his 19 starts were in Australia, and Arrowfield Stud now has a firm grip of his passport, but Kiwis remain rightly proud of Dundeel as a superstar born on their side of the Tasman. Not forgetting that he was bred, trained & ridden by New Zealanders, and mostly raced by them too.

Tomorrow the Waikato Racing Club will honour the six-time Group 1 winner with their Celebrating Dundeel Raceday at Te Rapa. Dundeel’s Hawke’s Bay owners, headed by his breeders Murray & Jo Andersen, are supporting races in the name of the champion’s strapper Emily Murphy, trainers Murray Baker & Andrew Forsman, his dam Stareel, Coolmore Stud (home of his sire High Chaparral) and Arrowfield.

Dundeel belongs to two illustrious lists, of champions born in the Waikato region, and Australian Group 1 winners trained at the Cambridge track. The former group includes Australian Horses of the Year Sunline, Might and Power, Octagonal, Bonecrusher, Red Anchor, Gurner’s Lane & Surround.

The latter group features Melbourne Cup winners Empire Rose, Jezabeel & Ethereal, brilliant sprinter-miler Our Westminister, Champagne (LKS MacKinnon Stakes), Domino (Australian Oaks), Giovana (Queensland Oaks), Prized Gem (Brisbane Cup), Nom du Jeu (Australian Derby), Sangster (Victoria Derby) and Lion Tamer (Victoria Derby & Underwood Stakes).

Three of the major players in last month’s $4 million ATC Queen Elizabeth S. G1 were prepared at Cambridge: Dundeel (1st), Sacred Falls (2nd) & Silent Achiever (4th).

Dundeel stands his first season at Arrowfield at a fee of $27,500 inc. GST.

Dundeel's dam booked to Redoute's Choice

The dam of Arrowfield’s new stallion, the six-time Group 1 winner Dundeel, will visit the Stud’s flagship sire Redoute’s Choice this coming Spring.

Murray & Jo Andersen, breeders and part-owners of Dundeel, confirmed earlier this week their decision to send Stareel (Zabeel-Staring by Fiesta Star) to the champion son of Danehill.

Murray explains, “Redoute’s Choice is a great sire and sire of sires, and becoming an equally valuable broodmare sire, and I am very happy to support Arrowfield too.

“It’s an excellent match on type and on pedigree, as Zabeel mares have such a good record with Redoute’s Choice.

“I’d be happy to get a colt or a filly, but I’m really keen to have a Redoute’s Choice filly from this family for future breeding.”

The Andersens have worked with Dundeel’s female family for almost 30 years after purchasing his third dam Sweet Violet in the early 1980s. They bred and raced Sweet Violet’s daughter Staring who, like her famous grandson, won a Group 1 classic at three and then succeeded as a 4YO in Group 1 weight-for-age company.

Dundeel added the Randwick & Rosehill Guineas and the Spring Champion Stakes at three, and last Spring lowered the colours of champion mare Atlantic Jewel in the MRC Underwood S. G1.

His climactic Group 1 victory in last Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes has earned him a Timeform rating of 129, ranking him alongside past champions such as Placid Ark, Northerly, Makybe Diva and Sunline.

The Australian Timeform ratings are compiled by Gary Crispe of Racing & Sports. Click  here for the current 4YO ratings.

Murray Andersen says of Dundeel’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes triumph, “Without doubt it couldn’t get any better than that. The Australian stage is where we breed to race and winning the biggest race in our own backyard is a bigger thrill for us than winning overseas.

“We always wanted Dundeel to win the race for Arrowfield, they have so much confidence in him as a stallion prospect, and it has given his stud career the perfect launch.”

The Andersens have always operated as private owner-breeders from their Hawke’s Bay base, usually mating no more than a couple of mares each year.  Their new status as stallion shareholders will only slightly change that long-standing strategy. 

“We don’t want to be large-scale breeders, but we will be supporting Dundeel and we are currently looking for a small number of mares especially for him. We may sell one or two of his progeny, but we’re mainly owners so we want to race most of them.”

A recent UK broodmare purchase is Michikabu, a Grand Lodge half-sister to Irish Group 3 juvenile winner Luminous Eyes (dam of this season’s Australian 2YO Group performer Lumosty), from the family of champion Pilsudski.

While Murray is excited about Dundeel’s stud future, the memories of Dundeel’s racing finale won’t be erased.

He says, “It was magic, he looked the best I’ve ever seen him. Murray as trainer and Emily as strapper have done an absolutely fantastic job, James rode him brilliantly and Dundeel put up his best-ever performance. We simply couldn’t have wished for more.”

Dundeel’s 2014 fee is $27,500 inc. GST, and Redoute’s Choice will stand at a fee of $110,000 inc. GST.

It's A Dundeel triumphs at The Championships

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.