2011 Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden has been retired from racing after suffering a setback at training.
Dunaden started his racing career in Germany in 2008 under the care of Doris Smith after being purchased for just €1,500 as a foal and he joined the stable of Yannick Fouin in France before joining the stable of Richard Gibson after a brief stint with Alban de Mieulle.
The Nicobar entire was a consistent performer throughout his racing career, but he had 23 race starts before he made his debut at Group level with a victory in the Group 3 Prix De Barbeville (3100m) at Longchamp in May of 2011.
Dunaden made his Group 1 debut, under the care of new trainer Mikel Delzangles, with a ninth place finish in the Group 2 Prix Kergorlay (3000m) at Deauville in August of 2011 and was taken to Australia for a Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign where he stamped himself as a contender for the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) with an impressive victory in the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m) on October 19.
He was well-backed in the lead-up to the Melbourne Cup at Flemington on November 1 and he held off a late charge from Red Cadeaux to win the $6.2 million event in the closest finish in the history of the race.
Dunaden marked himself as a genuine superstar when he scored an impressive victory against a strong field in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin on December 11, but a maiden victory at Group 1 level in Europe eluded him during the 2012 racing season.
The tough stayer returned to Australia for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 20 in 2012 and he defied the top weight of 58 kilograms and barrier 18 to storm down the outside of the field to claim a memorable victory.
Dunaden was never able to get into the race in the 2012 edition of the Melbourne Cup and finished a disappointing 14th, but he returned to Australia for a third tilt at ‘the race that stops a nation’ with a tough 11th with 58.5 kilograms on his back.
Pearl Bloodstock owner Sheikh Fahad paid tribute the outstanding racing career of Dunaden and said that his legacy will live on at stud as well as the involvement of Qatar Racing, which was formed by Sheikh Hamad after he enjoyed success with Dunaden as a part of Pearl Bloodstock.
“In winning the Melbourne Cup, Dunaden gave me the most exciting day’s racing I have ever had,” Sheikh Fahad said.
“He has been a dream horse to own; he has taken us all over the world from Europe to Dubai, Japan, Hong Kong and Australia and every time he tries his heart out and runs his race. “
“He owes none of us anything.
“I would like thank Richard Gibson who trained the horse when we bought him and in whose care Dunaden would have stayed, but for Richard moving to Hong Kong.
“As a result, Mikel Delzangles inherited a horse on the upgrade and he did the most wonderful job training Dunaden to win three Group Ones and to compete at the very top level all over the world for four consecutive seasons.
“Perhaps Dunaden’s greatest legacy is that his success ignited my brothers’ interest to become involved in racehorse ownership.
“His career has played a vital role in the evolution of Qatar Racing, an operation which now has over 200 horses in training worldwide.”
Dunaden was originally purchased for just €1,500, but he went on to acquire almost $10 million in prizemoney across his 46 race starts and will earn even more for connections when he begins his career at stud.