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Money has started to come in for overseas raider Dunaden to win the Geelong Cup 2011 on Wednesday, the punters backing a second successive victory in the feature by a French-trained galloper following Americain’s success last year.
Nicobar six-year-old Dunaden is prepared by Mikel Delzangles who once worked as assistant to Americain’s esteemed trainer Alain de Royer Dupre, and the money is on them having taken a tip or two out of Dupre’s books.
Twelve months ago the American-bred, Australian-owned and French-trained Americain claimed victory in the Geelong Cup at their debut run down under before going on to win the 150th edition of the Melbourne Cup.
This year Dunaden and Delzangles are out to emulate Americain, who is the $8 Luxbet favourite to go back-to-back in the Melbourne Cup, starting with their maiden Aussie run in the Geelong Cup tomorrow.
How do connections think Dunaden stacks up against the explosive Americain?
“They are different horses,” Delzangles foreman Aymeric Candas said.
“Americain is a lot bigger, but it doesn’t necessarily mean he is faster.”
Dunaden was last seen running a distant ninth over 3000 metres to fellow 2011 Melbourne Cup-bound international Jukebox Jury in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay (3016m) at Deauville on August 21, a run that should be forgiven according to connections as the stayer was far from fit.
They carried 59kg for that start and are at a similar weight as the 58kg topweight in the Geelong Cup on Wednesday.
Dunaden is due to jump from barrier eight of 13 with in-form hoop Craig Williams, who won the Caulfield Cup over the weekend with South Australian mare Southern Speed, booked for the ride.
Geelong Cup odds at Luxbet are led by Robert Hickmott’s last-start Herbert Power Stakes runner-up Tanby at a quote of $3.50.
Having been well backed from $5.50 to $4.80 Dunaden, who boasts an excellent record of two wins and three minor placings from six starts over the Geelong Cup distance, now occupies the second line of Geelong Cup betting followed by fellow European raider, the Luca Cumani-trained Bauer ($5.50).
Delzangles has Dunaden heading towards the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
“The horse is doing really well,” Candas said of Dunaden.
“We’d like to see him perform well (on Wednesday) to give us a bit of confidence for the (Melbourne) Cup.”
While many other horses in the Geelong Cup 2011 field are far from assured of a start in the Melbourne Cup, sitting 14th on the ballot Dunaden will start in the ‘race that stops a nation’ win or lose on Wednesday.
In the latest Melbourne Cup markets at Luxbet Dunaden is paying $21 to win, a price that is sure to firm dramatically should they emerge the 2011 Geelong Cup winner.
Races.com.au will continue to report on the Geelong Cup leading up to tomorrow’s clash scheduled to take place at 4:00pm (AEDST).
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