Craig Williams off Dunaden for Dubai World Cup Night 2013

Caulfield & Melbourne Cups champ Duanden is preparing for what could be their swansong campaign kicking off on 2013 Dubai World Cup Night but Aussie hoop Craig Williams is unlikely to maintain his association with the French star.

Craig Williams

Craig Williams is unlikely to be given the ride on Dunaden in Dubai this March

Connections of the Mikel Delzangles-trained Nicobar stallion, who is back in work at Chantilly, are admittedly disappointed with a number of Williams’ rides aboard Duanden including their fifth to Red Cadeaux in last months’ Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin.

Williams has been in the saddle for six of Dunaden’s 36 career starts having first partnered with them for their successful Aussie debut in the 2011 Geelong Cup.

After sensationally missing the stayer’s upset Melbourne Cup triumph next start due to suspension, Dunaden ridden by France’s Christophe Lemaire in the $6.2 million showdown, Williams reunited with them that December winning the Hong Kong Vase.

So keen was Williams to retain a partnership with Duanden that he travelled to Royal Ascot in July last year for the Group 1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2414m) ride but carrying 60.5kg the horse could only manage to finish three and a half lengths away sixth to Danedream.

It was back in the winners’ stall for the duo during the spring down under again however when Williams guided Dunaden to a sensational first-up victory over a gallant Alcopop in the Caulfield Cup.

They failed to successfully defend their title in the 2012 Melbourne Cup next start however finishing a distant 14th behind Green Moon in the two mile classic on the first Tuesday of November, one of the rides Duanden’s owners were less than impressed with.

It looks like all the signs are pointing to a more successful 2013 return however with Mikel Delzangles’ wife Ann commenting on how well Duanden had come through his spell.

“He’s just back from his Christmas holidays and is looking wonderful,” she said of them as they get ready for the Sheema Classic over the mile and a half in March.

There is also a chance Dunaden will return to Australia for this year’s Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival and another shot at the spring cups, but the ageing star may show they are ready for retirement before then.

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