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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


MONDAY: May 15, 2023: EDWARD Cummings acknowledges he is taking on his biggest challenge in attempting to win Saturday’s 2000m Group 1 Doomben Cup first-up with his classy mare Duais.

Cummings is chasing a fourth Group 1 victory with the five-year-old mare in the $1m feature, and has booked Sam Clipperton to ride her for the first time in a race.

Duais has not raced since finishing down the track in Gold Trip’s Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 1, and it was discovered a few weeks later after she had returned home that she had a chipped a bone in her off fore fetlock and underwent surgery.

The daughter of Cox Plate winner Shamus Award, who has won seven of her 24 starts and earned nearly $2.9m prizemoney, wasn’t able last spring to reproduce her dynamic autumn form of 12 months ago which saw her brilliantly win twice at racing’s elite level – the Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington, and Tancred Stakes (2400m), transferred from Rosehill Gardens and run at Newcastle.

She also outclassed her rival fillies the previous winter as a three-year-old in the Group 1 Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Eagle Farm at her sole Queensland start to date.

“I’m fully aware it is a big challenge to take on the Doomben Cup first-up as it doesn’t happen very often,” Cummings said this afternoon.

“But we had the opportunity to do so if we wanted to, and Duais has had a really solid grounding for this assignment.

“She had a good rehab after the surgery late last year, and has had an excellent build-up, having been back in the stable for two and a half months.

“I have given her three trials, and know her well enough to be confident that she is ready to have a crack at the Cup first-up.

“The 2000m is a distance at which she excels, having won three times (the Group 3 Adrian Knox Stakes at Royal Randwick, Group 3 Coongy Cup at Caulfield, and last year’s Group 1 Australian Cup).

Whilst Clipperton rides Duais for the first time under race conditions, he has partnered her in all three recent trials (winning over 1175m at Warwick Farm on April 14, again over 1100m at Newcastle on April 26, and then third over 1250m at Hawkesbury last Monday.

“Sam is in career best form and deserves the opportunity to stay with her in the Doomben Cup,” Cummings said.

Provided Duais races well on Saturday, Cummings has the $1.2m Group 2 Q22 (2200m) at Eagle Farm on June 10 as a further option during the Brisbane winter carnival.

“The Doomben Cup and the Q22 are both run at weight-for-age, and the right races for her at the carnival,” he said.

Duais is on the fourth line of betting at $11 with behind dominant $2.10 favorite Zaaki, who romped home by seven lengths in the 2021 Doomben Cup before finishing third as a $1.24 hotpot to Huetor in last year’s renewal, when it was run at Eagle Farm.

Duais arrived safely in Queensland this morning, and Cummings will fly north on Thursday night.

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