Racing Victoria International Recruitment Officer Leigh Jordon believes that talented European stayer Dunaden is now a fifty/fifty chance to return to Australia for a third attempt at the Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Dunaden was included in the 2013 Melbourne Cup nominations, which were released this afternoon, despite connections indicating earlier in the year that another visit to Melbourne for the Spring Racing Carnival was unlikely for the seven-year-old.
The Group 1 Prix De l’Arc De Triomphe (2400m) in October was expected to be the racing swansong for Dunaden, ahead of a career at stud, but according to Jordon he is now a legitimate chance to attempt to become the first horse since Peter Pan to win the Melbourne Cup on two occasions in non-consecutive years.
“Dunaden is a very popular horse in Australia having won a Melbourne Cup in 2011 and Caulfield Cup last year, so it would be a major fillip for the Spring Racing Carnival if we could attract him down under again,” Jordon said at the announcement of the 2013 Melbourne Cup nominees this afternoon.
“I had originally been advised that Dunaden would not be coming, but he is now a 50/50 chance of contesting another Emirates Melbourne Cup with his nomination being received.
“He is scheduled to contest the Prix Foy at Longchamp in France on Sunday week, 15 September and we expect a decision will be made after that whether he contests the Melbourne Cup or the Arc de Triomphe in his homeland.”
Dunaden has an exceptional record in Australia, winning the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) and Melbourne Cup during his first visit in 2011 while he won the Caulfield Cup in 2012 before finishing fourteenth behind Green Moon in the Melbourne Cup.
The Nicobar entire has not been victorious since his victory in the Caulfield Cup last year but has raced consistently at the highest level of racing in Europe, finishing second behind equine superstars St Nicholas Abbey and Novellist in the Coronation Cup (2423m) and Grand Prix De Saint-Cloud (2400m) respectively.