In a classic 2012 Caulfield Cup result champion French stayer Dunaden, the defending Melbourne Cup winner, entered the history books as the first ever original top-weight to take out the famed mile and a half feature with a sensational performance by both the horse and their hoop Craig Williams.
The Mikel Delzangles-trained Nicobar stallion remains undefeated down under thanks to a flawless ride from big race specialist Williams who made it back-to-back wins in the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) having partnered with Southern Speed for her victory 12 months ago.
Not having raced in Australia since their thrillingly close Melbourne Cup triumph last spring, Duanden pulled off an enormous feat to come back from a win in the world’s richest handicap to carry 58kg to victory first-up in the Caulfield Cup the following season from a horror draw.
“This horse is remarkable, he does remarkable things,” Geoffrey Faber representing Duaden’s international connections said.
“He’s broken a record today.
“He’s just extraordinary.”
Race favourite Glencadam Gold ($4.49F) jumped away well and made a bee line to settle second behind Peter Moody’s frontrunner Voila Ici ($18), who would eventually fade to finish dead last in the Caulfield Cup finishing order.
Dunaden ($14) meanwhile had the extreme outside barrier and after getting away fairly, was taken straight to the fence worse than midfield by Williams.
Positions were held right until the home turn when the field all made their moves.
The pacesetters quickly found themselves swamped with the back runners charging forward to challenge.
In a massive effort from last-start Caulfield Stakes runner-up Alcopop ($16), Jake Stephens’ veteran Adelaide galloper swooped down the outside looming as a genuine chance.
They hit the front and looked the winner until the final 50m until superstar stayer Duanden made their move, Williams bringing them up on the back of Alcopop before the reigning Melbourne Cup hero swallowed them up and snared a half-length win – the jockey’s third on Caulfield Cup Day 2012.
It was a truly thrilling Caulfield Cup Trifecta with Peter Moody’s in-form mare Lights Of Heaven ($11) charging home for third a further three-quarters of a length away while 2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain ($21) ran a slashing fourth less than one and a half off Dunaden – Alcopop splitting the world’s best champions.
“It’s very enjoyable,” Williams said after the winning Caulfield Cup ride.
“There’s nothing better than winning races like this.
“This horse’s story is amazing and it’s about him today.
“I’m very fortunate I’ve got a great affinity with this horse and they give the me the opportunity.
Dunaden, who reeled off sensational sectional times including the last 400m run in 24.37sec, is now in peak condition heading to Flemington to defend their title in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on Tuesday November 6, Caulfield Cup fourth placegetter Americain also in flying form as they too seek another Melbourne Cup victory.
Credit to the Caulfield Cup winner and their jockey Williams who had a plan and executed an outstanding ride, the hoop positioning Dunaden on the fence resting with the genuine tempo allowing them a gun run where they got out and rounded them up.
“I think he hates France and likes Australia,” Faber said.
“I always thought he’s a better chance in the Caulfield Cup (than back in the Melbourne Cup).
“He’s got to carry that 58kg with no penalty over the extra half a mile at Melbourne.
“But he’s an outstanding horse.”
As for Caulfield Cup runner-up Alcopop, trainer Stephens couldn’t have been happier with the huge run by the horse who likely could have won this race three years ago had they been nominated.
“I thought ‘can he hang on’,” Stephens said.
“I knew he was right coming into this…obviously Dunaden is a world class horse.
“But it was a phenomenal run and it’s just such a thrill to see him go well in a big race like this.”
Of course today’s Caulfield Cup results were just a taste of what is to come with the 2012 Melbourne Cup to run at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November.
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2012 Caulfield Cup Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 8 – 20/10/2012
|1||2||DUNADEN (FR)||Mikel Delzangles||Craig Williams||–||18||58kg||$14|
|2||15||ALCOPOP||Jake Stephens||Dom Tourneur||0.5L||8||52.5kg||$16|
|3||12||LIGHTS OF HEAVEN (NZ)||Peter G Moody||Luke Nolen||1.25L||7||53kg||$11|
|4||1||AMERICAIN (USA)||Alain de Royer Dupre||Gerald Mosse||1.45L||15||58kg||$21|
|5||10||MY QUEST FOR PEACE (IRE)||Luca Cumani||Corey Brown||1.55L||2||53.5kg||$8.50|
|6||18||ZABEELIONAIRE (NZ)||Leon Corstens||Craig Newitt||2.8L||1||52kg||$26|
|7||17||FOLDING GEAR (NZ)||Lee & Shannon Hope||Ben Melham||3L||4||52kg||$26|
|8||14||SNEAK A PEEK (ITY)||Peter G Moody||Glen Boss||4.25L||9||53kg||$15|
|9||4||WINCHESTER (USA)||John Sadler||Jamie Mott||4.55L||13||55.5kg||$51|
|10||8||SANAGAS (GER)||Bart Cummings||Nicholas Hall||4.65L||3||54kg||$61|
|11||13||SECRET ADMIRER||Grahame Begg||Brenton Avdulla||5.15L||10||53kg||$21|
|12||11||NIWOT||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Dwayne Dunn||5.65L||6||53.5kg||$21|
|13||3||JAKKALBERRY (IRE)||Marco Botti||C O’Donoghue||6.4L||12||55.5kg||$21|
|14||16||MOUDRE||Ciaron Maher||Kerrin McEvoy||7.15L||5||52.5kg||$61|
|15||9||GLENCADAM GOLD (IRE)||Gai Waterhouse||Jim Cassidy||8.65L||17||53.5kg||$4.40F|
|16||19e||SABRAGE||Michael Moroney||Ms Clare Lindop||8.85L||16||51kg||$151|
|17||5||DECEMBER DRAW (IRE)||Mark Kavanagh||Michael Rodd||9.35L||11||55kg||$7|
|18||6||VOILA ICI (IRE)||Peter G Moody||Vlad Duric||17.35L||14||55kg||$18|
|–||21e||IBICENCO (GER)||Luca Cumani||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||22e||FICTIONAL ACCOUNT (IRE)||David Hayes||–||–||0||–||–|
|–||7||SOUTHERN SPEED||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Nash Rawiller||–||0||–||–|
|–||20e||GATEWOOD (GB)||John Gosden||–||–||0||–||–|