Atlantic Jewel came close to retaining her unbeaten record in the Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (Aus-I) Sept. 21 at Caulfield Racecourse, but It's a Dundeel edged her in the final stride in a heartbreaker for the star mare.
Trying for her 10th victory from as many career starts, 1.60-1 favorite Atlantic Jewel spurted to the early lead and set a dawdling pace in the 1,800-meter (about 1 1/8-mile) race, with It's a Dundeel tracking closely from fourth in the 14-horse field.
The Fastnet Rock mare picked up the pace into the straight and increased her command, but It's a Dundeel willingly went with her. Locked in a thrilling duel to the finish line, the 4-year-old High Chaparral colt thrust his head in front at the line for the victory.
Ridden by James McDonald for trainer Murray Baker, It's a Dundeel completed the distance in 1:54.70 as the 7.50-1 second favorite on turf rated as slow.
The Underwood attracted a classy field of stayers and Atlantic Jewel was stretching out to a distance that played more to the strengths of Sydney Triple Crown winner It's a Dundeel and Melbourne Cup (Aus-I) favorite Puissance de Lune, who finished seventh in the 14-horse field.
Last year's VRC Crown Oaks (Aus-I) winner Dear Demi, who chased Atlantic Jewel from second early, finished a creditable third; multiple group I winner Manighar was outfinished for fourth by group I winner Happy Trails; reigning Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon finished ninth, and recent Makybe Diva Stakes (Aus-I) victor Foreteller was 12th.
It's a Dundeel turned the tables on Atlantic Jewel following his fourth-place finish behind her in the Memsie Stakes (Aus-I) Aug. 31 at Caulfield in his season debut. He won for the fifth time at the top level with his Underwood triumph and posted his ninth win from 14 career starts.
"It was a brilliant ride by James," Baker told ABC News. "There was no pace in the race, he went forward and took it up to her (Atlantic Jewel).
"It was a very special race between two very good horses."
New Zealand-bred It's a Dundeel is out of the Zabeel mare Stareel iand s owned by a partnership. He became just the fifth horse to sweep Sydney's Triple Crown when he scored a facile win in the David Jones Australian Derby (Aus-I) in April at Royal Randwick. The victory followed triumphs in the Rosehill Guineas (Aus-I) March 20 and the Randwick Guineas (Aus-I) March 16 at Warwick Farm. His record also includes a win in the Chandon Spring Champion Stakes (Aus-I) last October at Randwick.
Also in Australia Sept. 21, jockey Blake Shinn piloted Streama to victory in a close one-two finish for females in the George Main Stakes (Aus-I) at Royal Randwick.
Streama and runner-up Royal Descent raced prominently behind the early pace set by New Zealand star Veyron before Streama took charge late, narrowly holding back Royal Descent to win the 1,600-meter (about one-mile) race in 1:34.78.
The finish stole the show from veteran jockey Jim Cassidy, who was trying for his 100th group I win aboard highly regarded Hawkspur. His mount relaxed at the back of field early and had too much left to do on the home turn. The colt finished fast under Cassidy, however, to take fourth behind third-place finisher Veyron.
Dissident, the 4-1 favorite, faded to sixth after pursuing Veyron from second early.
Trained by Guy Walter, Streama won her third group I race. Her record of eight wins, eight seconds, and four thirds from 26 career starts includes four other placings at the elite level. The 5-year-old Stratum mare out of Pensiamo, by Sovereign Red, is campaigned by Mr. and Mrs. Geoffrey Coghlan.