Connections of this year’s brilliant Caulfield Cup winner Dunaden have confirmed ace hoop Craig Williams, who missed out on the big ride last spring due to suspension, will continue his association with the horse in the Melbourne Cup 2012 on Tuesday November 6 at Flemington Racecourse.
The internationally-performing Williams produced one of his best rides yet when guiding the Mikel Delzangles-trained French champion Dunaden to a sensational come from behind win in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) over the weekend.
It was Williams’ second straight Caulfield Cup triumph as he also partnered with last year’s winner Southern Speed.
Williams was on fire last season also taking out the Cox Plate with the ill-fated Pinker Pinker.
He missed the chance to become the first jockey in history to score the spring triple Grand Slam in a single season however as he was forced to watch Dunaden win the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) with French hoop Christophe Lemaire in the saddle from the sidelines after copping a suspension in the week leading up to the iconic handicap.
The top class rider won’t be letting that happen again this year however.
Already Williams has a strong ride for the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on Saturday having been booked to ride second favourite Green Moon in the weight-for-age classic.
He is also now confirmed to have the Melbourne Cup 2012 mount on $7 favourite Duanden having been booked for the ride months ago, Williams committed to ride the Caulfield Cup winner regardless of whether Green Moon wins the Cox Plate or goes to the Melbourne Cup or not.
“We booked Craig two months ago, and he will be riding Dunaden in the Melbourne Cup,” stable rep Geoffrey Faber said.
“He has already texted me saying, ‘I’m definitely on him.’ He is a very important part of the team and has a great record with this horse.
“It was just a great ride (in the Caulfield Cup) and you wouldn’t want anyone else on him in the Melbourne Cup.”
While confident the horse is in the right condition and coming off the right form for a win on the first Tuesday of November, Williams is harbouring some concerns over the weight penalty they are tipped to receive for their Caulfield Cup win today.
“The horse is going really, really well and he hasn’t been beaten in Australia,” Williams said.
“I guess when you’re running in handicaps, that is the game.”
Twelve months ago Dunaden won a different spring cup in the lead-up to the famous two-mile feature at Flemington having scored victory in the Geelong Cup and it is another French galloper Brigantin who Williams is looking forward to seeing in the Geelong feature this Wednesday.
“We’ll see Brigantin on Wednesday when he steps out,” he said.
“(And then) there are going to some horses you won’t see until Melbourne Cup Day.”
Faber agrees that any additional impost on top of Dunaden’s 58kg would certainly be a tough ask, but they have been targeting the Melbourne Cup since they won it last year.
“We always thought he would be a chance in a Caulfield Cup but the main mission was the Melbourne Cup,” he said.
“I would like to think there will not any penalty at all.
“He has the job in front of him with the weight that he has to carry when compared to Americain and Brigantin without getting anything extra anyway.
“He is an incredible horse and broke all sort of records to win on Saturday.
“He will have to break records again in the Melbourne Cup if he is to win it but I wouldn’t count him out from doing it.”
Stay tuned to Races.com.au to for all the latest spring carnival news and updates including Dunaden’s pending Melbourne Cup weight penalty to be announced shortly.
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