TUESDAY: March 29, 2022: WHEN Duais won her first race at Newcastle over 1300m at only her third start on a Sunday in December 2020, Edward Cummings forecast she would appreciate longer distances and could develop into an Oaks type.
Prophetic words indeed!
Not only did Duais romp away with the Queensland Oaks (2200m) at Eagle Farm last winter, the now four-year-old mare’s return to Newcastle yesterday delivered both her and her Hawkesbury trainer their third Group 1 triumph.
And in hollow fashion to boot.
Lining up in the $1.5m wfa Tancred Stakes (2400m) at the meeting which couldn’t be completed after only three races were run at Rosehill Gardens last Saturday, Duais ($2.40 favorite) gave her rivals a start and a beating.
In trouncing Stockman ($20) and The Chosen One ($13), Duais boosted her earnings to nearly $2.7m, clinching her seventh victory from 18 starts.
Whilst the two placegetters are definitely heading to the $2m Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday week, Cummings is yet to decide whether his classy mare tackles that feature or goes back to 2000m for the $4m Queen Elizabeth Stakes on the same program.
But he has confirmed Kerrin McEvoy’s booking for the former if a decision is made to go that way.
Duais has only 51kg – and cannot be penalised for neither yesterday’s victory or her Group 1 Australian Cup triumph at Flemington on March 12 as both were run at weight-for-age – and Josh Parr cannot make that weight.
“Duais was a bit tired this morning, but otherwise is fine,” Cummings said today.
“We’ll see how she does in the next few days and don’t have to rush into making a decision.
“The Sydney Cup probably would be the easiest race for her to win, but it also might be the hardest for her even though I feel she will handle the 3200m.
“Given her current form, she won’t get into another major handicap with 51kg.
“On the other hand, Duais’ wins in both the Australian Cup and Tancred Stakes show that she is right up to the best at weight-for-age, and coming back to 2000m wouldn’t be a problem.
“Obviously, Josh will stay on her if she runs in the Queen Elizabeth.”
Parr’s blossoming association with Duais came out of the blue after her Oaks winning rider Hugh Bowman could not commit to her at her first two Sydney runs this campaign.
“Josh is a great bloke and a very underrated jockey,” Cummings said.
“He had first refusal of the Australian Cup mount after Duais’ first two runs and the fact that he made a rare trip to Melbourne to stay with her underlined just how much he thinks of her.”
Duais gave Cummings his 13th winner (and 31st overall) of the current season, equalling last season’s tally, and shot his stable’s earnings since August 1 to just over $2.3m.
Given his first winner was Gin Runner at Wellington on July 9, 2019 since deciding to train on his own at Hawkesbury after sharing duties with father Anthony at Randwick, he has done a superb job to have three Group 1s to his credit in such a relatively short time.