The Edward Cummings-trained former Queensland Oaks winner Duais was too strong for her rivals in the 160th running of the Group 1 $1.5 million Australian Cup (2000m), the classy mare defeating race favourite Think It Over third-up at Flemington.
She was dominant third-up over the same distance to win the Coongy Handicap during the spring, and Cummings said it was always the plan to give her a shot at repeating the feat in tougher company in the Australian Cup on Super Saturday.
“We always wanted to be here,” Cummings, whose legendary grandfather Bart won the Australian Cup 13 times, told Racing.com after the race.
“It was always part of the plan. We knew we’d done something similar last preparation…we always felt that getting her to Flemington would suit her down to the ground third-up at 2000m she’d done it before.”
Atoning for her luckless defeat in the Chipping Norton Stakes where she was caught on the fence before producing the best final furlong of the race, the four-year-old daughter of Shamus Award simply outclassed and outstayed them in the Australian Cup at headquarters.
The bonny bay was ridden to perfection by Josh Parr who rode her with confidence and patience, making his move on the straight after coming widest on the turn for home.
Duais then reeled in the Peter Moody-trained front runner Spanish Mission, last year’s Melbourne Cup place-getter holding for another feature race third.
Splitting the two was Kerry Parker’s beaten favourite Think It Over who travelled well throughout before looking gone at the top of the straight and then coming back again to get up into second.
“I’m elated,” winning jockey Parr said.
“I’m struggling for words which isn’t too common with me.
“What a thrill to ride a Group 1 winner at Flemington from near the back of the field, the Australian Cup, I’m over the moon.
“I was full of confidence. With a pinch of luck, we would have won the Chipping Norton and that was evident by her final furlong.
“So confident when I saw her today. Edward assured me in great shape and she certainly was. Once I got aboard, she was so relaxed.”
Duais is now likely to return to Sydney for a shot at the Group 1 $1.5 million Tancred Stakes (2400m) over the mile and a half at Rosehill on March 26 where she will renew rivalries with both Spanish Mission and Verry Elleegant.
Current all-in 2022 Tancred Stakes futures markets at Ladbrokes.com.au have Duais as the $4.50 third favourite behind those two horses.