Outstanding French stayer Dunaden is on track to defend his Melbourne Cup crown with a last to first win in the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield today.
But connections will be sweating on what Melbourne Cup penalty Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter will impose on Dunaden who has already been allocated 58kg in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 6, the weight that the seven year old carried to victory today.
With winning trainer Mikel Delzangles having to attend to commitments in England, stable representative Geoffrey Faber said that Dunaden’s best opportunity to win one of the major races this year was the Caulfield Cup today with 58kg, but now if he gets a penalty, the job at Flemington will be made a little tougher.
“I always thought his better chance was today in the Caulfield Cup. He has to carry 58kg with no penalty over an extra half a mile at Melbourne. He’s just an outstanding horse.” Faber said.
French trainer Mikel Delzangles will arrives in Melbourne over the next couple of weeks to put the finishing touches on Dundaen in preparation for his defence of the ‘Race that stops the nation’.
Craig Williams rode Dunaden like he was the best stayer in the race when he crossed over to be in the final three of the field with cover going out of the straight the first and with a solid speed set up by Glencadam Gold, he knew he would have plenty of opportunity to run down the leaders.
Williams made it two Caulfield Cups in a row after winning last year on Southern Speed and hopes to make amends and win the Melbourne Cup on Dunaden after missing the winning ride last year because of suspension.
“I’m very fortunate that I’ve got a great affinity with this horse and they give me the opportunity,” Williams said.
Connections of Lights Of Heavens, who finished third and Americain, fourth, can’t wait to get to Flemington and will have a genuine chance of turning the tables on Dunaden over 3200m especially with a penalty sure to be given for the Caulfield Cup win.
Dunaden has shot to the head of Melbourne Cup markets at $6 while Caulfield Cup favourite Glencadam Gold has blown out to $41.
Americain remains in the betting at $9 with Mount Athos while Green Moon is at $11 in front of Shahwardi at $13 and Red Cadeaux at $16.