It may have been only one sleep since French-trained stayer Dunaden claimed Australia’s greatest race winning the 2011 Melbourne Cup in a nail-biting photo finish with fellow European raider Red Cadeaux, but already trainer Mikel Delzangles is talking about a title defense in the Melbourne Cup 2012.
Emulating the mighty Americain in claiming this spring’s Geelong Cup – Melbourne Cup double in their opening two starts down under, Nicobar stallion Dunaden took out the $3.6 million in prize money on Tuesday and has come through the gritty, bob of the head success in fine order.
Delzangles, who followed the Melbourne Cup winning blueprint of his former boss and mentor to Americain Alain de Royer Dupre, said that they would be back at Flemington next year on the first Tuesday of November trying to go one better than Americain who failed to go back-to-back in the world’s richest handicap.
“If he’s well he’ll come back next year,” Delzangles confirmed.
“There will be more horses from Europe (in the 2012 Melbourne Cup) but it doesn’t mean they will win every year.
“It is a very hard race to win.”
As for the beaten Melbourne Cup favourite, Americain lost few admirers with their brave fourth place finish on Tuesday.
In a discouraging position with 800 metres left to travel in the famous Flemington feature, Americain charged home in a mammoth finish to cross just one and a half lengths away from Dunaden in the 2011 Melbourne Cup finish.
All those in camp Americain were over the moon with the champion’s efforts with handler and assistant trainer Stephanie Nigge expressing plans to remain in Australia for the autumn season where he will be showcased in both Sydney and Melbourne.
“I think he was the best horse (on Tuesday),” Nigge said.
“For us it is like he won.”
Twelve months ago after their Melbourne Cup success Americain was quickly installed as favourite to win the following year.
It is likely to be the same story for Duanden, with futures 2012 Melbourne Cup odds at Luxbet to be led by the reigning winner.
While the Melbourne Cup has been run and won, Luxbet punters still have three massive elitle level races to enjoy a spring punt on starting with the 2011 Crown Oaks at Flemington on Thursday.