Allez Allez, Dunaden makes it two straight for France in Cup
The Mikel Delzangles trained 6yo Dunaden has won a thrilling edition of the Emirates Melbourne Cup defeating fellow European raider Red Cadeaux by the narrowest margin in the race’s 151 year history.
French jockey Christoph Lemaire, having his first ride on Australian soil, rode a masterful and patient race in placing the entire worse than midfield before unleashing a late run.
In a beautifully composed ride Lemaire extracted every drop of Dunaden’s ability getting the son of Nicobar home by a nose over the gallant British raider Red Cadeaux. The margin was so slight it took several minutes for the photo finish judge to semaphore with many on track believing it was the race’s first dead heat.
The triumph of Dunaden was no doubt bitter sweet for champion Victorian hoop Craig Williams who was unseated from the ride yesterday after a lengthy battle with stewards to clear his name from an earlier suspension.
Williams, who has enjoyed a brilliantly successful spring, argued unsuccessfully before VCAT yesterday in a failed attempt to secure a stay of proceedings and ride in today’s Cup.
Apart from missing out on today’s winning percentage, today’s result also cost Williams a rare opportunity to win the coveted spring Triple Crown having successfully annexed the Caulfield Cup (Southern Speed) and Cox Plate (Pinker Pinker) during the last month.
Dunaden has been a solid stayer in Europe for some time and came into the race with sound credentials. The 6yo has been a model of consistency, running slashing races in the G2 Vigier and G2 Kergorley in France before following the well trodden path to Geelong where he emulated past Cup’s winners Media Puzzle and Americain in winning the G3 Geelong Cup decisively.
Dunaden continued the recent domination of the Melbourne Cup by foreign raiders with the likes of Vintage Crop, Media Puzzle, Delta Blues, and Americain all saluting and masses of fellow raiders placing or running well.
Thoughts must be for connections of the vanquished Red Cadeaux who must surely have thought they had triumphed in the great race only to be denied by the smallest margin. Jockey Michael Rodd, a winner already of the Melbourne Cup with Efficient tried earnestly to get his charge home but it was to no avail.
Third place went to the Anthony Freedman trained Lucas Cranach who ran a very cheeky race and looked the likely winner deep into the straight only to be collared late by Dunaden and Red Cadeaux.
2011’s edition of the Emirates Melbourne Cup was held with overcast skies that fittingly opened just after the event. The race was run in clean fashion with few hard luck stories. The capacity crowd were treated to one of the most memorable finishes in the time honoured race’s illustrious history.
The VRC and Racing Victoria would be thrilled with such a successful event which was conducted without incident and the precision and professionalism unmatched anywhere in the world.
And so it’s over for another year, felicitations Dunaden, only 365 more sleeps to the next Melbourne Cup.
By Suman Hedge
Reporting from Flemington
For Iskander Racing and Breeding