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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


THURSDAY: October 13, 2022: HAWKESBURY’S triple Group 1 winning mare Duais is in great order for Saturday’s Caulfield Cup, but trainer Edward Cummings understandably is keeping a close eye on weather developments.

Cummings flies to Melbourne tomorrow, hoping for an improved track condition to give the go-ahead to run his star mare in the $5m 2400m feature.

Caulfield was downgraded to a “Heavy 10” for the last four races of yesterday’s Thousand Guineas meeting on the second day of the Cup carnival, and that rating remained this morning.

The track received 25.4mm of rain in the last 24 hours (57mm in the last week), and more is forecast.

Though Duais has won three times on soft ground, she has been unsuccessful in four attempts on heavy tracks; the latest on a Heavy 10 when seventh to Think It Over in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 9.

That was at the end of a brilliant autumn campaign which netted Group 1 victories in both the Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington and 2400m Tancred Stakes (transferred from Rosehill Gardens to Newcastle).

The Australian Cup was run on a “Good 4” surface, and the Tancred on a “Soft 6”.

One-time Caulfield Cup favorite Duais (Josh Parr) is out to $13 with following three unplaced lead-up runs this preparation.

But her trainer has given a good pointer to her Cup chances – provided Duais gets a suitable surface on Saturday – in reference to her latest eighth to Cup favorite Smokin’ Romans in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 1.

“She was still half a run short, and I thought she did well that day in the circumstances,” Cummings said this morning.

“We rode her out of position closer because there didn’t appear to be any speed in the race, and there wasn’t.

“Duais still ran a faster last 600m than when she won the Australian Cup in March.

“She had 57kg under the set weights and penalties conditions of the Turnbull, and drops 1.5kg going back to a handicap.

“She is great, and that run has really brought her on for Saturday’s race or wherever we go afterwards, but we certainly don’t want a very heavy track.

“Duais is still in the Cox Plate (2040m at The Valley on Saturday week) and Melbourne Cup (3200m at Flemington on November 1).”

Cummings’ mare drew nine when the barrier draw was conducted last night, but will come into seven if the two emergencies (Durston and Makram) do not gain starts.

Duais has already earned nearly $2.8m from her 22 starts (seven wins and five placings), and a Cup victory would more than double that figure as a $3m first prize is on offer.

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