Racing’s Rising Stars: Duais’ Caulfield Cup race long forgotten after all-star Fall Carnival

Duais has been the talk of the town in recent weeks, and that will only intensify after the three-time Group 1 winner was confirmed for the $4 million Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

After a brilliant victory in the G1 Tancred Stakes, the four-year-old mare is now set to take on Verry Elleegant, Zaaki and Anamoe in the feature race on Day 2 of The Championships at Royal Randwick.

But how did Edward Cummings get this highly talented horse back to 16th place in the Caulfield Cup last October and now be in the mix for one of Sydney’s most prestigious races?

Let’s take a look at Duais’ career as he heads into the biggest race of his career.

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Duais’s career with trainer Edward Cummings certainly had some humble beginnings. After settling in as a $1 shot at his debut in a Newcastle maiden in June 2020, he finished second behind Sam Spade.

After an average race on a heavy track at Randwick Kenso, Duais broke his maiden in his third start as a short-term favorite at Newcastle in December 2020. Following the big win, he would not win again until March, before winning a Group. 3 win in the Adrian Knox Stakes.

But it was a solid performance at the G1 Australian Oaks around this time last year, where she came last through the home corner to finish second behind Hungry Heart, that began to catch the attention of fans and racing pundits.

Watch Duais’ run at the 2021 G1 Australian Oaks below.

Cummings, a horse on the rise, would take his prized mare to Brisbane for the Queensland Oaks in June, where she scored her first Group 1 win in the $600,000 race.

Booked as the $2.80 favourite, Duais proved too strong for her opponent, pulling away from the rest of the field in the final roll-up to win by 2.5 lengths at Eagle Farm.

Watch Duais win his first Group 1 win below.

Already with a G1 win and early career placement, Cummings would set a target for the G1 Caulfield Cup in October and perhaps even a dart for the nation-stopping race in early November.

After a solid run in the G3 Cameron Stakes and a disappointing finish in the G2 Hill Stakes, Duais scored another group-level victory in the G3 Coongy Cup, just three days before the Caulfield Cup.

Duais would produce an impressive finish by earning a narrow victory over $1.60 favorite Floating Artist and Wentwood to win by a head, but Cummings wasn’t satisfied.

Instead, he supported the mare in the Caulfield Cup, where she finished 14.5 lengths behind winner Incentivise, and was subsequently withdrawn from the Melbourne Cup and given a spell.

Duais’ return for the fall wasn’t exactly glamorous, finishing ninth in the G2 Apollo Stakes and sixth in the G1 Chipping Norton, but his last two starts have shown great improvement.

The mare would go on to win by two lengths in the $1.5m Australian Cup at Flemington, before returning to Sydney for a big win in the G1 Tancred Stakes, which was moved to a Monday at Newcastle due to poor track conditions and the Weather in Rosehill.

Duais would storm home to win the race by 3.4 lengths from Stockman on soft ground, giving connections and fans plenty to look forward to for the rest of 2022.

Watch Duais storm home in the G1 Tancred Stakes below.

Many thought Cummings would choose to race Duais in the 3,200m Sydney Cup, with a view to the Melbourne Cup later this year, but will instead compete in a stacked field in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

Duais has drawn the widest gate in a star-studded field of nine horses at Randwick, and is right in the mix with Verry Elleegant, Zaaki and Anamoe to win the race as far as the market is concerned.

If he could get past Verry Elleegant, arguably the best horse in the world, he would instantly become a superstar of the sport and likely be installed as the favorite for the big spring races.