/ Racing

Sheikh Fahad Al-Thani confident of Dunaden form

Updated: Saturday, 03 Nov 2012 10:43 | Comments

Dunaden on the way to Caulfield Cup victory last month
Dunaden on the way to Caulfield Cup victory last month

Dunaden's owner Sheikh Fahad Al-Thani believes the defending Emirates Melbourne Cup champion will strip 20% fitter than on his recent Australian comeback.

Mikel Delzangles' stayer is unbeaten from three starts in the country, having again won his Flemington prep run in last month's Caulfield Cup.

He landed stall 16 of 24 at the draw on Saturday evening, and the Sheikh said: "I think when he won the Caulfield Cup he was at about 80% and he's 100% now, he is doing very well.

"I think Red Cadeaux is a big danger, he is well-in at the weights with us from last year but this horse is a champion and I wouldn't swap him for anyone. He loves Australia."

The Sheikh's racing manager, David Redvers, said of the draw: "We were hoping for anything between eight and 20, we weren't too bothered, but we're only three off where we were last year so the Sheikh chose well."

The draw was largely favourable to European raiders, with stalls towards the middle usually preferred in a large field over two miles.

France's 2010 hero Americain breaks from 12, Frankie Dettori's mount Cavalryman taking six and Red Cadeaux, an agonising second a year ago, getting 18.

Dermot Weld's Galileo's Choice has 11 while Luca Cumani's main hope Mount Athos has eight.

"I wanted eight to 12, so I'm happy," said Cumani, although his other starter My Quest For Peace must break from the dreaded stall one.

Weld's son Mark said: "We're very pleased with that as he has several of the leading runners just outside him.

"It looks possibly the best Cup in recent memory and we'd very much like to see some rain by Tuesday."

Marco Botti, who has only just arrived in Australia, was pleased when he assessed Jakkalberry but was hoping for stalls between six and 12, rather than the 19 he was given.

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