Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden retired after setback

Just days after Qatar Bloodstock celebrated a milestone Australian victory, the career of the horse who brought it here is over.

Dunaden, the 2011 Emirates Melbourne Cup hero and 2012 Caulfield Cup champion, was late on Monday confirmed as being retired after suffering a training setback.

The eight-year-old son of Nicobar is owned by Sheikh Fahad al Thani, member of the Qatar royal family, who told Racing Post that Dunaden was central to the evolution of the family’s Qatar Bloodstock operation.

“In winning the Melbourne Cup, Dunaden gave me the most exciting day’s racing I have ever had,” he said.

“Perhaps Dunaden’s greatest legacy is that his success ignited my brothers’ interest to become involved in racehorse ownership.

“His career has played a vital role in the evolution of Qatar Racing, an operation which now has over 200 horses in training worldwide.”

One of those is the Robert Smerdon-prepared Crafty, winner of the Listed Taj Rossi Series Final at Flemington last Saturday. It was the maiden Black Type success in Australia for a Qatar Bloodstock galloper purchased in Australia.

Dunaden scored much bigger wins here. He announced himself to Australian fans with victory in the Geelong Cup at his maiden Australian start and then again emulated fellow French galloper Americain at his next start when he won the Emirates Melbourne Cup.

Dunaden returned the following year to score a historic win under 58kg in the Caulfield Cup.

He then defended his Melbourne Cup crown, but could manage only 14th behind Green Moon and last year ran in Australia’s greatest race for the third time, finishing 11th behind Fiorente.

His Australian successes were the highlights in a career that also netted victory in the 2011 Hong Kong Vase and trainer Mikel Delzangles said he was a horse who would never be forgotten.

“He always showed us that anything is possible when you have a big heart,” Delzangles told Racing Post.

“I owe him so much, much more than just victories. He is a once-in-a-lifetime horse.”

Dunaden retired the winner of 10 of his 46 starts, with a further 20 minor placings helping him amass just short of AU$10 million in stakes.

Story by Brad Bishop