On a day which could have been all about Craig Williams making amends for the heartbreak of missing a Melbourne Cup-winning ride, the champion hoop instead attributed Dunaden's victory in Saturday's Caulfield Cup to an extraordinary horse and a determined trainer.
Williams, who rode three winners on the day, revealed post race that he didn't harbour any angst about his lost chance in last year's Melbourne Cup, with the victory in the Hong Kong Vase on Dunaden erasing any pain he felt about his missed shot at history.
He insists he went into Saturday's race with a clear mind, allowing him to pull off a gem of a ride from barrier 18 which allowed the magnificent French stayer to overpower his rivals and win Saturday's race.
"There's nothing better than winning races like this but to enjoy it with a horse that I've got such a great affinity with and also the people around that make it that more special," he said.
"This horse's story is amazing and it's about him today. Mikel Delzangles, what a trainer."
Williams fought hard to stay on Dunaden after winning on him in last year's Geelong Cup, but an untimely suspension allowed Christophe Lemaire to assume the ride for the Melbourne Cup.
Despite the disappointment of that moment, Williams harboured no bad memories about what he described as a special horse.
"I don't like looking back on the bad luck but I'm very lucky because I've got a great family group around me and friends and very fortunate in that sense," he said.
"Hong Kong was closure for me on this horse. The way that Mikel Delzangles was with the support was amazing after last year's Melbourne Cup."
Barring a similar misfortune as last year, he will now get the chance to claim his first Melbourne Cup victory on November 6.
Delzangles wasn't present for the win, with stable representative Geoffrey Faber left to lavish praise on Dunaden.
"This horse is remarkable, he does remarkable things and he's broken records today with being the first allocated top-weight to win the Caulfield Cup how many years?" he said.
Faber said the horse clearly loved Australian conditions and Australian racing.
"He has just thrived since he's been at Werribee and that is the difference. I think he hates France and loves Australia," he said.Dunaden is expected to receive a penalty of around 1kg for the Melbourne Cup, taking him to 59kg, a weight not carried in the metric era. That would be a rise of 4.5kg on the weight he carried last year.
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