Defending Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden is back for a second shot at the world’s richest handicap this Tuesday and if the French galloper is successful they will have earned over $10 million in prize money.
The $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) is the race on everyone’s lips this week and the 2012 Melbourne Cup is shaping up as an intriguing edition after a largest-ever international invasion.
Among the eight overseas-trained horses in this year’s Melbourne Cup field are two former champions in the ‘race that stops a nation’ including the reigning hero Duanden.
Mikel Delzangles’ Nicobar six-year-old won last year’s Cup in the closes ever finish in history over Red Cadeaux, who also backs up in 2012, which was just their second start down under after their Geelong Cup victory.
After the Melbourne Cup Duanden went on to win the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) next start at Sha Tin but failed to win again until they returned to Australia this year.
On October 20 the stallion maintained their flawless record down under with a brilliant come from behind win in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), the ideal lead-up for a Melbourne Cup title defense.
“He couldn’t be better,” Delzangles, who has prepared Duanden for their past 12 runs, said.
Despite their imposing form Dunaden isn’t currently installed as the Melbourne Cup betting favourite, paying $7.50 to 2010 winner Americain’s $6.
Drawn wide in gate 16, three further out than their winning Melbourne Cup barrier last year, Duanden will be ridden by Craig Williams who missed the historic mount 12 months ago due to suspension.
Their Caulfield Cup triumph boosted Dunaden’s total career prize money from 34 starts to $7,035,611 (AUS), not bad for a horse snapped of for just 1500 euros as a weanling.
On Tuesday if they are successful in their bid to become just the sixth horse in history to win multiple Melbourne Cups then Dunaden will enter a unique club – horses to win $10,000,000 in prize money.
It is an amazing story and a win tomorrow would be a fairytale come true, but Delzangles knows the horse has their work cut out for them as the 59kg topweight carrying 4.5kg more than last year.
“Having been here last year, we know a little more,” Delzangles said.
“We know the track, the routine, and many little details which make things easier.
“I think he is better than last year, definitely. But he has to be four and a half kilos better. It is difficult, but you know him, he is always fighting, always trying for the victory.”
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