French stayer Dunaden has defied history to win the 2012 Caulfield Cup, taking out the 2400 metre Group 1 event, despite the odds being stacked against him.
Never before had a top weight won the Caulfield Cup, yet Dunaden, carrying 58kg, came from last place to extraordinarily run down his classy opposition, winning by half a length, in one of the greatest staying performances seen in Australia.
Making the win even more impressive was the fact Dunaden started from outside barrier 15, a feat also never accomplished in the race. In less than 12 months, the 7 year old has won the Geelong Cup, Melbourne Cup and Caulfield Cup, taking his earnings to over $AU7 million.
Pre-race favourite Glencadam Gold cut across from a wide gate to take up the running and lead throughout with Voili Ici not far behind. Around the final turn, December Draw loomed up and My Quest For Peace found a gap inside, with Secret Admirer and Lights Of Heaven handy.
At the 300, Glencadam Gold and December Draw both started to fade, and Alcopop strode into the lead with an impressive turn of foot, looking the potential winner. But Dunaden burst home from the back of the pack, running down the outside to win narrowly from Alcopop, with Lights Of Heaven battling on strongly for third.
2010 Melbourne Cup winner Americain put in an amazing performance, also coming from the tail and finishing fourth. My Quest For Peace and the unlucky Zabeelionaire made up the top six.
Winning jockey Craig Williams, who also took out last years event on Southern Speed, was in awe of Dunaden's terrific effort.
"He is a phenomenal, world-class stayer, and to win on him today is so special because I have such an affinity with this horse", Williams said. It is the jockey's 36th career Group 1 victory.
Williams rode the horse to victory in last years Geelong Cup, then lost the mount in the Melbourne Cup because of a careless riding suspension.
"I don't like looking back on the bad luck I had last year, I try to look forwards and consider myself very lucky", he said.
Dunaden has now rocketed into favouritism for the Melbourne Cup, although it seems the team was aiming at the Caulfield Cup, and the extra weight in the big one will make it very hard to defend his title on the first Tuesday of November. But this is one horse that knows how to overcome the odds!