Melbourne Cup champion Dunaden will jump from gate three in the Hong Kong Vase, an alley that could do one of two things.
The first option is that the pace is a slow, if this is the case he’ll benefit from the inside draw and potentially lob a prime spot in running.
The second option is that the pace is hot and he could risk being spat out the back and be left needing plenty of luck around the bend.
Trainer Mikel Delzangles acknowledges that had he got to choose his horse would be given a little more space but says it could work out in his favour.
“Maybe he would be better drawn a little bit wider,” Delzangles said.
“But if there isn’t much pace, he will be able to take a good spot.”
The Hong Kong Vase is over 2400m, a big test coming back from the two miles of the Melbourne Cup.
Dunaden did win over this trip in the Geelong Cup but it’s worth remembering that was when his preparation was building in distance.
This time it’s a lot tougher trying to regain the zip he’ll need over the shorter journey.
“He’s freshened up nicely since Melbourne, I think his work has been very encouraging,” Delzangles said.
“I think he’s just as well and happy as he was in Melbourne, so I am very hopeful.”
Dunaden is following in the footsteps of Americain by tackling the Hong Kong Vase, the 2010 Melbourne Cup champion crossing the line in third.
There’s no doubt he simply just lacked the dash of the two in front of him but Delzangles says that doesn’t mean Dunaden’s fate is sealed.
“Every race is different, every horse is different,” he said.
“I think we are here with a very good chance and I’m sure the horse will run well.”
Of course Dunaden isn’t the only Cup’s horse in the field with Red Cadeaux looking to avenge the tightest of defeats.
He has amassed a good record over this trip but once again it’ll be how well he copes backing up from 3200m.
Trainer Ed Dunlop says he looks like he’ll run a race and rightly points out that there really should be nothing splitting him and Dunaden.
“He’s come here in very good order and with the form to say he’ll run very well,” Dunlop said.
“If Dunaden is a chance, as people seem to think, then our horse has to be in with a good show also.”