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  • Writer's pictureJohn Curtis


MONDAY: October 31, 2022: HAWKESBURY’S Melbourne Cup hope Duais is “fit and well” for her biggest assignment at Flemington tomorrow.

And the mare’s trainer Edward Cummings says getting a “good run” is the most important thing if she is to win the $8m Cup (3200m), and add a fourth Group 1 to her already outstanding record. Cummings considered giving Duais her final lead-up against her own sex in the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington last Saturday, but opted against it.

His legendary late grandfather Bart Cummings successfully started 11 of his 12 winners in the great race in either the Archer Stakes (2500m) or wfa Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington the previous Saturday.

“I didn’t feel she needed to start again going into the Cup,” Cummings said from Melbourne this afternoon.

“Duais is fit and well and ready to run a great race.

“There are a few in the Cup with good chances, but I’m not worried about any one horse in particular.

“I’m more concerned about seeing her get a good run.

“Duais is a class stayer and provided the Cup is run at a decent speed and she gets that good run, I’m confident she will handle the 3200m at her first attempt.”

Cummings has given Duais four starts this campaign for a total of 7400m; coming from 16th at the 400m at her latest to finish eighth (beaten only two and a half lengths) to Durston in the $5m Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 15.

She showed her class on Flemington’s roomy stretches in the autumn by brilliantly winning the Group 1 wfa Australian Cup (2000m), beating subsequent Royal Randwick Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) winner Think It Over.

At her next run, she did a similar Group 1 job on her Tancred Stakes (2400m) rivals when the race was switched from Rosehill Gardens to Newcastle because of wet conditions.

It was overcast in Melbourne late this afternoon, and Flemington earlier today was upgraded slightly to a “Soft 6” rating.

Cummings is hoping forecast rain doesn’t eventuate as Duais has won three times on soft tracks, but is yet to be placed in four attempts on heavy ground.

Hugh Bowman, who was aboard when Duais won her first Group 1 (the 2200m Queensland Oaks at Eagle Farm in June last year), renews a successful association with the mare as he strives to clinch his 100th Group 1 victory in Australia.

Duais this afternoon was a $26 fixed odds chance with

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