Williams Confident Dunaden Can Retain Hong Kong Vase
Internationally renowned jockey Craig Williams is confident Dunaden is good enough to win the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase for the second straight year at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Dunaden finished a disappointing fourteenth in the 2012 Melbourne Cup but Williams believes the Nicobar stallion is in better condition heading into this year’s Hong Kong Vase then he was last year after winning the Melbourne Cup.
“Perhaps he was fresher than last year, but the way he feels I wouldn’t have minded if he was running in the Cup,” Williams said.
“You think back a year, the worry was that he might be too dour coming back from 3,200m to 2,400m, but the way he feels, I think he wouldn’t be out of his distance range in a 2,000m race now. He just seems sharper.”
Williams rode Dunaden in trackwork yesterday in a near carbon copy of their work a year ago.
“He’s had a similar preparation to last year and the plan was to do similar work today and I was happy with him,” Williams said.
“It was his first big piece of work here, so I took my time and wasn’t worried about the clock.
“But he switched onto his right leg in the straight, finished it off, then pulled up having a good puff but recovered very quickly.
“He was on his wrong leg for most of the work after being in Melbourne, running the other way, but I think it was important to get him under pressure right-handed again, just to fine-tune him for Sunday.”
If Dunaden is successful on Sunday he will join Richard Gibson-trained Doctor Dino and Luso as the only duel winners of the Hong Kong Vase.
He is currently favourite in the Hong Kong Vase betting market at Bet365 followed by Sea Moon, Meandre and Dancing Rain.
Dunaden’s old rival Red Cadeaux, who he defeated by less than a nose to win the 2011 Melbourne Cup, is also in the field as is Marco Botti-trained Joshua Tree.
You can bet on every race during the Hong Kong International weekend at Bet365.