Strong Cup tempo a key for UK stayer: Dunn

Anna Lisa Balding.
Anna Lisa Balding says UK stayer Duretto will be strong when it matters in the Caulfield Cup.

Leading jockey Dwayne Dunn expects the Caulfield Cup’s modern-day transformation into a true staying test will bring out the best in his mount Duretto.

Dunn, who won the 2006 Cup from an inside barrier on Tawqeet, says the $5 million race is run differently to how it used to be, thanks to the presence of a growing international contingent.

“It’s more of a testing 2400 metres now than the usual sprint to the first corner, back up and then get going again,” Dunn said.

“Now the race has changed a bit over the years as we’ve got more of those European stayers that keep galloping.”

Duretto is among four European-trained stayers in this year’s Cup and from the rails draw Dunn is hoping the race unfolds in the same way as it did for him on Tawqeet.

“Tawqeet came from three-quarters of the way back and ran up on the inside of them and Boom Time last year didn’t leave the paint (rails),” Dunn said.

“Hopefully it opens up for you and from the 800 metres to the 500 (metres) is the crucial part in this race.”

Dunn had his first sit aboard Duretto on Wednesday morning and has taken an instant shine to the horse.

Although Duretto lost weight following his arduous flight from the UK that included an extended stopover in Sharjah, all has gone smoothly since his arrival at Werribee.

Dunn now hopes Duretto’s form will stand up in a Caulfield Cup.

“His form looked pretty basic, but the more that his form is getting exposed the better it’s looking,” Dunn said.

“The horses around him have gone on to win or run really well.”

Trainer Andrew Balding’s wife Anna Lisa, says the inside draw is ideal for Duretto who breaks well from the barriers.

“He loves Chester, which is like Moonee Valley,” Balding said.

“As a long-distance horse, he’s actually got a turn of foot so hopefully he can bring it in that final furlong.”