Dunaden hasn’t been getting a lot of love from punters over in Hong Kong at the moment but the praise of his jockey pretty much levels it out.
There are a couple more fancied runners than the Melbourne Cup winner in the Hong Kong Vase market but Craig Williams wouldn’t swap him for anyone.
Williams missed out on his chance to create history by winning the Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup in the same year when he was banned by stewards from the first Tuesday in November.
Williams wore a brave face when joining the connections to celebrate the win but the burning sense of disappointment he felt was plain to see.
Now though he has a golden chance to claim a conciliation prize in one of the world’s biggest races.
There is a huge amount of competition on hand for this year’s Hong Kong Vase but Williams says the horse looks better than ever.
“I’m really happy with the way he travelled over from Melbourne,” Williams said.
“He’s actually fresher than he was in Melbourne. Looking at him, he’s put on weight and just the feel he gave me in trackwork tells me he’s right to go on Sunday.
“He nearly unseated me in his warm-up lap, he’s just so fresh and just so well within himself.”
Dunaden worked over 1400m yesterday running his final 400m in 22.5 seconds and earning the tick of approval from the rider.
“I will just use one word – superb,” Williams said.
“He really lengthened good and his recovery was immediate.
“That’s the last bit of work he’ll do now. (Trainer) Mikel (Delzangles) flies in tomorrow and I’m sure he’ll be delighted by what he sees.”
Barriers for the 2012 Hong Kong Vase will be drawn tomorrow.