Injury has forced the connections of 2011 Melbourne Cup hero Dunaden to retire the veteran stayer who bows out with over $8 million in prize money to their name.
Prepared in France by Mikel Delzangles the rising nine-year-old was injured in a training mishap and has officially then run their last race.
The Pearl Bloodstock-owned Nicobar stallion won 10 of their 46 career starts including the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) three years ago.
Their nose win over Red Cadeaux was the closest finish in history in the world’s richest handicap and cemented as one of the world’s premier stayers.
Dunaden backed up 40 days later at Sha Tin to also win the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) that year.
The following year the champion returned down under to complete a rare feat, the reigning Melbourne Cup winner taking out the $2.65 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
They couldn’t go back-to-back in the ‘race that stops a nation’ however running 14th after striking early interference and carrying 59kg from barrier 16 (of 24) behind winner Green Moon in the 2012 Melbourne Cup.
Their Caulfield Cup triumph was their final victory.
Dunaden did however race competitively in a number of other international events over the following year and a half including second place efforts in Britain’s Group 1 Coronation Cup (2423m) and the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint Cloud (2400m) in France last year.
After a close third in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) last December behind Dominant, Dunaden’s two most recent runs were in Dubai earlier this year for the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
Their swansong appearance was a ninth to Gentildonna in the Group 1 Dubawi Sheema Classic (2410m) at Meydan on March 29 and they will now prepare for a career at stud.
“Dunaden will be very missed by all of us in the yard, but we are so proud of what he has achieved and very happy that he will get to stand at stud,” trainer Delzangles told the Racing Post.
“He always showed us that anything is possible when you have a big heart.
“I owe him so much, much more than just victories. He is a once-in-a-lifetime horse.”
Also honoring the horse’s incredible achievements was Racing Victoria’s Leigh Jordon.
“Dunaden won the Melbourne Cup, becoming the second French-trained winner of the race and then came back the following year to win the Caulfield Cup,” they said.
“It was probably one of the most scintillating performances in winning the Caulfield Cup as he came from last on the bend to power up the straight.
“For Sheikh Fahad he has been a cornerstone horse, but probably for Australia as well, he was a real crowd favourite.
“He is one of the most popular and recognised horses in Australia. It’s sad to see him retired but he has done a fantastic job for Sheikh Fahad.”
Sheikh Fahad said that Dunaden’s Melbourne Cup victory was his most exciting days in the racing industry and the horse had been a dream to own.
“In winning the Melbourne Cup, Dunaden gave me the most exciting day’s racing I have ever had,” he said.
“He has been a dream horse to own.
“He has taken us all over the world from Europe to Dubai, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia and every time he tries his heart out and runs his race.
“He owes none of us anything.
“I would like thank Richard Gibson who trained the horse when we bought him and in whose care Dunaden would have stayed but for Richard moving to Hong Kong.
“As a result, Mikel Delzangles inherited a horse on the upgrade and he did the most wonderful job training Dunaden to win three Group Ones and to compete at the very top level all over the world for four consecutive seasons.
“Perhaps Dunaden’s greatest legacy is that his success ignited my brothers’ interest to become involved in racehorse ownership.
“His career has played a vital role in the evolution of Qatar Racing, an operation which now has over 200 horses in training worldwide.”
Dunaden’s official record sits at 46 starts for 10 wins, 11 seconds and 9 third place finishes for $8,122,328 in career earnings.
An official decision on where they will stand at stud is yet to be made.
This year’s Melbourne Cup runs at Flemington on Tuesday November 4.
Early favourite in the pre-nomination Melbourne Cup betting markets is Gai Waterhouse’s Sydney Cup champion The Offer.