Cummings ‘excited’ about Duais ahead of Australian Cup

Edward Cummings
Edward Cummings (Photo: Steve Hart)

According to her trainer, Duais is “right up to the mark” ahead of Saturday’s Group 1 Australian Cup at Flemington.

The four-year-old mare will head into the 2000m feature third-up after two solid runs in Sydney on heavy track.

After finishing midfield in the Apollo Stakes, the daughter of Shamus Award ran a luckless sixth in the Chipping Norton Stakes, finishing 1.6 lengths behind Verry Elleegant and She’s Ideel over 1600m.

Her trainer, Ed Cummings, told that coming to the race third-up has been a “long-range desire” as he looks to win the Cummings family a first Australian Cup since his grandfather Bart passed away.

“I’m excited. It’s a great day on the Australian calendar and I would expect that she should be ready to reach her peak now – third-up, 2000m and it’s been a long-range desire to see her get to Flemington,” Cummings said.

“Early on in the preparation, we figured that arguably the best race for her from a continuity of preparation point of view and also in terms of having that view for the spring, would be to get her down in Melbourne at Flemington third-up for the Australian Cup.

“On the strength of that run (Apollo Stakes), we were really confident that she’d be ready to run a good race with even a little bit of luck in the Chipping Norton, and we got no luck at all.

“It was one that went through to the keeper, but I suppose she’s an unknown quantity at this stage – or certainly prior to the Chipping Norton. I think there were a few questions answered, not only for the racing public, but in my mind to some extent.”

Also coming out of the Chipping Norton is the favourite for this race, Think It Over.

The Kerry Parker-trained gelding ran fourth, beating home Duais by a quarter of a length, so Cummings is confident that his mare can turn the tables, although he has plenty of respect for Parker’s galloper.

“I’m sure that Think It Over has got more improvement to come, certainly up to 2000m and certainly getting back on top of the ground,” the trainer said.

“I think he’s also the sort of horse that’s very reliable in terms of the ratings that he produces and the runs and type of racing that he’s capable of on a regular basis. We were three and a half lengths off him without any luck in the Hill Stakes in the spring and from my point of view, all we needed to do was affectively run an extra half second faster last 600m in order to catch him.

“We were back and wide that day and he controlled things up on speed – I think had things been a little bit different and also her being a little bit older now, she’s perfectly poised in my view to start challenging horses like Think It Over and I’d be hopeful that she’s got a little bit more dash than some of the other horses in the race.”

Duais arrived in Melbourne on Tuesday morning and had her first look at the Flemington course proper shortly after that.

“She left for Melbourne Monday night, she got down to Melbourne early Tuesday morning – just had a pretty relaxing time, we gave her a look at the track,” Cummings continue.

“She wasn’t out to do anything sensational.

“She’s right up to the mark at this stage anyway, and I’m glad that we gave her that little trip around Flemington because while she was stabled there in the spring, she hadn’t been on the course proper and I think for any horse that hasn’t been there before, it’s a lot to take in.”

Duais is an $8 chance for the Australian Cup, which will jump at 4:20pm AEDT on Saturday afternoon.

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