The West

Dunaden can win Caulfield Cup: Williams
Track rider Mathieu Brasme rides Dunaden during trackwork at Werribee Racecourse last Wednesday. Pic: Getty Images

A bigger, stronger and improved Dunaden can "definitely" win Saturday week's Caulfield Cup, according to his jockey Craig Williams.

Williams could barely contain himself after riding Dunaden at Werribee on Tuesday in the horse's first gallop since returning to Australia, declaring him a better chance of winning at Caulfield than defending his Melbourne Cup crown.

"My feeling is that the Caulfield Cup will be more suitable than the Melbourne Cup," he said.

"There's no doubt that the way that he's going now, because the weights are so compressed, he can definitely win the Caulfield Cup with his 58 kilos.

"I'd say the way the Caulfield Cup is usually run, it's going to be more to his liking."

Williams is booked to ride the French galloper at both Caulfield and Flemington, but at this stage he believes he is a better chance in the lesser of Melbourne's two major cups.

Williams rode Dunaden to victory in last year's Geelong Cup, only to lose the winning Melbourne Cup ride through suspension.

He then got back on Dunaden to win the Hong Kong Vase over the Caulfield Cup distance last December before being reunited in the horse's controversial King George run at Ascot.

The celebrated international rider said Dunaden had strengthened considerably since he was last in Melbourne and that the change in his physique will be a useful asset and had influenced connections to return to Australia and take on the Cups with the 58kg he's been allotted.

"He's a lot bigger and stronger than last year," he said.

"Because his physique changed, they were much happier to run with the 58 kilos."

One of the most impressive aspects to emerge from Williams' reunion with Dunaden was his belief that the horse still has considerable improvement in him.

And he is expecting to see that produced when he rides him again on Monday.

"I was happy with what he did today and I know he's got improvement in him," he said.

"When we started to canter off he really came to life and I really had to hang on to him.

"I'm looking forward to seeing his progress on Monday."

Dunaden galloped strongly over 1600m, finishing off with 600m in 37s.

The West Australian

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