Dunaden (far side) beat Red Cadeaux in last year's Melbourne CupPICTURE: Getty Images
Weight won't stop Dunaden says Williams
Australia: Dunaden's jockey Craig Williams says top-weight will not stop the French-trained six-year-old completing back-to-back successes in the Emirates Melbourne Cup on Tuesday.
Williams missed out partnering Dunaden in the world's richest handicap 12 months ago owing to suspension, leaving Christophe Lemaire to pick up a lucrative spare ride.
But the Australian was back in the saddle when Dunaden won the Caulfield Cup in impressive fashion on October 20 - and he was in confident mood after being reunited with the horse for a 1,400-metre (7f) workout on Wednesday morning at the Werribee International Horse Centre.
"I'm delighted," said the jockey. "For his last serious piece of work before the Melbourne Cup, I couldn't be happier. Just the way he let down, the way that he ran his last 600 metres and, most importantly, the way he extended and recovered after the work was great. He's right on target."
The worry for Dunaden's supporters is the 1kg (2.2lb) penalty for winning at Caulfield may prove a burden too much.
"I don't believe weight is going to stop him," Williams said. "Mathematicians and figures and history will say it will, but my feeling is that if he has the right luck in running, I've very confident he can win with that weight.
"Realistically he deserved a kilo for what he did but my feeling is that weight will not stop him. I'm very confident he can win with that weight."
Also on hand was Dunaden's trainer Mikel Delzangles, dropping in for the briefest of visits to oversee Melbourne Cup preparations en route to the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita, where he is due to saddle Ridasiyna and Flotilla.
Delzangles was pleased with what he saw. "I was very pleased with his work today and so was the jockey," Delzangles said.
"I'm happy, the horse looks well and he is definitely better than last year - but he has to be 4kg (nearly 9lb) better,'' he said. "I'm sure he will try his best, but it is 59 kilos over two miles."
In other Cup news, Damien Oliver got a first feel of Americain since being the man to profit after Gerald Mosse was jocked off the 2010 Melbourne Cup winner.
"He was really bright," said Oliver after a 2,000-metre (1m2f) spin at Werribee. "He's more imposing being on him than from afar. I was really taken by his athleticism. He was really light on his feet and has great acceleration."