Last year’s Melbourne Cup winner. He came from France a little unheralded, but after victory in the Geelong Cup and the Melbourne Cup he received his just accolades. He has only won two races since, but they’ve been pretty good races – the Hong Kong Vase in December last year and the Caulfield Cup two weeks ago. He’s a top class galloper, clearly, who is probably at his best at 2400m. That said, he prevailed in the tightest ever Melbourne Cup finish last year over Red Cadeaux, so 3200m is obviously no issue.
Jockey Craig Williams will be out to win the grand slam of racing – the four big races of the Australian turf (Golden Slipper, Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate, Melbourne Cup), which he’ll complete if he wins the Melbourne Cup. After the pain of last year, he’ll be keen to make amends. The query this year is weight. He is going to have to carry 59kg if he is to join Archer (1861, 1862), Peter Pan (1932, 1934), Rain Lover (1968, 1969), Think Big (1974, 1975) and Makybe Diva (2003, 2004, 2005) as a multiple winner of the great race.
No horse has carried that great a load since weights went metric in 1972 – although Makybe Diva carried the equivalent of 60.5kg (58kg plus the 2.5kg mares allowance) when she won her historic third Melbourne Cup in 2005. I don’t think he’ll have too many issues with the 59kg – a greater issue is the relative weight compared to other runners. Take Red Cadeaux, for instance. Last year, Dunaden carried 1kg more than Red Cadeaux. This year, he has to carry 3.5kg more than Ed Dunlop’s horse. It’s hard to say he can’t win, but I’ll be looking elsewhere. Place best for mine.
$1400 IN FREE BETS on DUNADEN
Breeding: Nicobar x La Marlia
Bred in: France
Trainer: Mikel Delzangles
Jockey: Craig Williams
Career Stats: 34:10-9-7
Last 5 Starts: 3326×1
Biggest Win: Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), Flemington, 1/11/2011
TAB Sportsbet Fixed Odds (as at 7pm, Sunday November 4): $7