Geoffrey Faber was given a big task at the start of the spring when he was commissioned by leading French trainer Mikel Delzangles to get Dunaden ready for the 2011 Melbourne Cup.
Delzangles has been tied up with his stable back home throughout this campaign and has only now arrived at Werribee to oversee the final stages of Dunaden’s Cup preparation.
He will surely be happy with the work of Faber though who has taken Dunaden from a Melbourne Cup outsider to one of the favourites in betting.
If what he says is anything to go by it’s a deserved spot as he firmly believes Dunaden will win the 2011 Melbourne Cup.
The six year old goes in after a commanding victory in the Geelong Cup last start and he says the horse has only improved since then.
“He’s done nothing but thrive since the race, really couldn’t be happier with him,” he said.
The scary thing for rival trainers is that you get the feeling they weren’t even trying when they won the Geelong Cup.
“I would say he was probably 85% fit, that was all we needed to go to Geelong,” he said.
“I knew he had the class to begin if everything went his way, he’s got the most amazing turn of foot for a stayer.”
Dunaden is trying to replicate the efforts of Americian which passed through the Geelong Cup on the way to victory last year and they feel they have the edge on the defending champ.
Not only have the already beaten him earlier in the year, they also have a significant 3kg advantage.
“We couldn’t be happier with his weight, if he was fit and ridden a little bit differently he probably would have got more (than the 0.5kg penalty form the Geelong Cup),” he said.
“I think wherever Americain finishes we should be a length in front of him.”
Faber now hands over the reins to Delzangles for these final few days but there’s little doubt he does so with the horse in near perfect condition.
“Mikel will probably come to the stables this afternoon and we’ll decide whether he’ll do some more work tomorrow or Saturday,” he said.
The stable does have one lingering concern with jockey Craig Williams facing a 10 meeting suspension following the Bendigo Cup meeting.
Williams will face a hearing tomorrow but even if the ban stands he should be able to appeal and gain a stay of proceedings which would allow him to ride in the 2011 Melbourne Cup.