/ Racing

Dunaden delights in Caulfield Cup workout

Updated: Monday, 15 Oct 2012 08:31

Dunaden is gearing up for his defence of the Melbourne Cup
Dunaden is gearing up for his defence of the Melbourne Cup

Dunaden pleased connections as he worked over a mile in preparation for Saturday's Caulfield Cup in Australia.

Last year's Melbourne Cup winner is due to defend his title next month, but will first have a crack at this weekend's mile-and-a-half-feature after running in some of Europe's top middle-distance events this term.

Last seen finishing sixth behind Danedream in the King George at Ascot, the six-year-old was then given a break by trainer Mikel Delzangles before heading to Australia.

Delzangles flew in from France to watch Monday's workout as jockey Craig Williams partnered the horse at the TAB International Horse Centre at Werribee.

"I was really happy with Dunaden's work this morning. He has come on from last week but still has major improvement left," Williams said.

"He's a lot keener and sharper then we saw him in Australia and Hong Kong last year."

While Dunaden impressed in his work, both trainer and jockey feel he has yet to reach his peak after suffering a minor setback with two foot abscesses before departing for Australia last month.

"Mikel Delzangles says he is one week away from being in prime condition and I'd say he's spot on," Williams said.

"I spent the first 400m of today's gallop getting him to settle. Then he got into his rhythm nicely down the back straight and then I asked him to quicken.

"He ran a good time down to the line I'm pretty sure. It was a nice, solid piece of work."

Williams is now hoping for an inside draw in the Caulfield Cup, adding: "The barrier will dictate my confidence levels. I'd like to draw a barrier between one and six in the Caulfield Cup and let him take up a forward position."

Dermot Weld's Melbourne Cup challenger Galileo's Choice also galloped over seven furlongs, some of his most serious work after taking a few days to recover from the journey.

Alain de Royer-Dupre's Shahwardi has been handed a 1.5kg penalty for he Flemington feature on November 6 after winning the Herbert Power Stakes over the weekend.

The penalty raises the French stayer to 32nd in the order of entry for the Cup, for which 24 are allowed to start.

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