Craig Williams was impressed with the efforts of Mount Athos as he partnered the horse in a workout at the Werribee International Horse Centre on Friday morning.
Luca Cumani's charge is on target for the Emirates Melbourne Cup on 5 November, a race in which he finished fifth last year when partnered by Ryan Moore.
Williams is in line for the ride this time around and he was delighted with the six-year-old's performance in his first proper work since arriving in Australia just under a week ago.
The rider told www.springcarnival.com.au: "It was my first sit on Mount Athos this morning and I was really happy with the way he felt and how he responded to me riding him.
"His work was really sharp - he's quite fresh. It was his first major piece of work since he stepped off the aeroplane and he was quite keen throughout the middle part of his work. He ran sharp times for a two-miler.
"This is the start of his preparation for the Melbourne Cup and I think you can see he's come off the plane bouncing and raring to go."
"He's come off the plane bouncing and raring to go" - Craig Williams
The Mikel Delzangles-trained Dunaden won the Melbourne Cup in 2011 and he is back for another crack after finishing 14th last year.
He worked in company with Havana Gold, who has recently transferred to Delzangles from the Richard Hannon team.
Work rider Mathieu Brasme said: "Dunaden is himself - he's the same as every year. We're very happy to be here.
"He's settled in OK and we're happy with him so far. He's one year older but he's still there."