Jockey Craig Williams celebrates after riding Dunaden to win the Caulfield Cup. Photo: Mal Fairclough
Dunaden fans, don't fear the big weight your star stayer has to carry in the Melbourne Cup. That was the message today from David Redvers, the racing manager for Dunaden's owner, Sheikh Fahad al Thani.
"I would just say that Dunaden is something very, very special," Redvers told Radio Sports National on Tuesday. "He's a horse that has this incredible will to win. He loves travelling, he adores Australia … I do genuinely believe that with luck in running you will see something that will rewrite the history books."
Redvers said Dunaden's impost of 59 kilograms in the Cup was "very fair".
"He's been given a huge ask. But equally one would has to say he has earned it. I just hope that he comes out of the race OK and is able to get a clear run, because if he gets a clear run I think he'll win."
If those confident words were not enough for the wavering punter, Redvers went further, saying his six-year-old seemed to have "improved dramatically physically" in the past year since he won the Cup.
"His muscle definition has changed ... The horse has improved from last year. I'm pretty sure you'll see a spectacular performance first Tuesday in November."
Redvers rates Geelong Cup favourite Brigantin a threat in the Melbourne Cup, but says Dunaden would lap the talented French stayer at level weights. Brigantin has a 5kg advantage for Australia's greatest race.
"He's good. Make no mistake, he's good. If he doesn't win the Geelong [Cup] I'd be absolutely flabbergasted. I imagine he'll end up joint favourite for the race after that. I can only hope he wins so well at Geelong that they end up giving him another five kilos."
Redvers also rated Mount Athos as a "significant danger", but he couldn't stop talking about Dunaden.
"The thing that puts him a class above nearly every other horse on the planet other than probably Frankel is this incredible will to win, and he loves running past other horses. I don't think he's the same horse when he's out in front because he loves that challenge.
"You just never see horses that really pin their ears back and really give it everything and seem to know where the winning post is. He has the most remarkable will to win."
Redvers said his boss was gradually expanding his equine empire into Australia, where there was "fine weather, fine wine and huge prizemoney", though their operation would never rival the scope of an institution such as Darley.
"And I know there's been consternation from a few of your guys back there that the Europeans are coming and stealing all your prizemoney," he said. "But I love the thought that you're actually hosting an equine Olympics and you're bringing the best in the world to compete for your money."