There will be no Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign for the 2011 Melbourne Cup and 2012 Caulfield Cup champion Dunaden this year with connections leaning towards retirement for the rising eight-year-old following the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France this October.
The Mikel Delzangles-trained Nicobar stallion has been one of the top earners for owners Pearl Bloodstock over the past few seasons amassing nearly AUS$8.4 million in prize money in their 38 start career to date.
Having gone through a number of trainers earlier in their career Dunaden was sent to Delzangles’ care in April of 2011 and really began to hit their peak after that.
They were earmarked for that year’s spring carnival in Melbourne and travelled to Victoria to win the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) in their debut down under.
That win saw them go straight into the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington and in the historic handicap’s closest ever finish Dunaden was the narrow winner over Red Cadeaux.
After that they backed up 40 days later at Sha Tin and posted another elite level victory this time in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m).
After mixed results back in Europe over the next year Dunaden returned to Oz last spring and scored a courageous victory over Alcopop in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) when overcoming barrier 18 of 18.
They failed to defend their Melbourne Cup title next run however when a luckless 14th to Green Moon before their Hong Kong Vase fifth.
Dunaden has this year run top four in all four of their Group 1 starts everywhere from Dubai to England to France were their latest run was a fast finishing second behind German galloper Novellist in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint Cloud (2400m).
“We were delighted with how he ran,” owner Sheikh Fahad’s racing manager David Redvers said of Dunaden’s performance on Sunday.
“He didn’t travel through the race like he has done previously, but he finished with his usual gusto and determination.
“He was a bit tired afterwards.”
Plans are to now prepare them for an end of year return heading towards the esteemed €4 million Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (2400m) at Longchamp on the first Sunday in October after which they will likely be retired.
“I think we’re going to give him a well-earned mid-season break before bringing him back for one of the Arc trials, maybe the Prix Foy,” Redvers added.
“After that he’ll run the Arc and, speaking to Sheikh Fahad, the thinking is that will be his last race before he’s retired.
“He’s been the most magnificent servant.”
Without official nominations being taken yet bookies are keeping Dunaden in the future Caulfield and Melbourne Cup betting markets as a $51 shot.
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