Melbourne Cup decision for Dunaden to be made today
- by:Michael Manley
- From:Herald Sun
- July 24, 2012 12:00am
Dunaden, with French jockey Christophe Lemaire aboard, wins last year’s Melbourne Cup, but plans for his defence remain up in the air. Picture: APSource: AP
A DECISION on whether Dunaden returns to defend his Melbourne Cup crown should be made today.
David Redvers, racing manager for Dunaden’s owner Sheik Fahad Al Thani, said yesterday they had hoped to make a decision after the French stayer ran in the 2400m King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot at the weekend. But the horse’s unlucky sixth had confused the issue.
However, Redvers said his hunch would be that Dunaden would be set for the 2400m Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in Paris on October 6.
Strengthening the case for Dunaden to run in the Arc, the race is sponsored by Qatar, which Sheik Al Thani’s family rules.
“I’ll have a conversation with Sheik Fahad tomorrow morning,” Redvers told Radio Sports National yesterday.
“He is actually in Melbourne at the moment, but he’s going to call me and we’re going to decide one way or the other which way we go then.
“We really needed the King George to show us one way or another whether (Dunaden has) really got the class and the speed to cope with the top mile-and-a-half horses in Europe.
“He showed in the Hardwicke (at Ascot last month) that he was there or thereabouts. We hoped to get a clearer picture yesterday, but we didn’t because the race couldn’t have been run worse to suit him.”
Dunaden jumped strongly from an inside barrier and over-raced in the early stages to lead before settling in second.
“We hoped the race would show us precisely where we were going to go, but in the end it was just a non-event for the horse, so it’s a bit disappointing,” Redvers said.
Dunaden had been favourite for the Melbourne Cup at $17 with TAB Sportsbet, but is now out to $19. Lucas Cranach is favourite at $17.
Redvers said Sheik Al Thani’s French-trained four-year-old Vadamar, who had been mooted as a possible Cup contender, might not because it might be a year too soon.
He said last year’s Cup win was the absolute pinnacle for Sheik Al Thani but he might not have a runner in the race this year.
THE metropolitan jockeys’ premiership battle continues at Mornington tomorrow. Luke Nolen, who leads on 70 wins, has seven rides. Craig Newitt, who is two behind, has five.