CRANBOURNE-based jockey Craig Williams will reunite with Dunaden for a tilt at the $2.65 million BMW Caulfield Cup on Saturday.
The 135th running of the group 1 race over 2400 metres is shaping to have one of the strongest fields in recent years.
The Caulfield Cup is the world's most prestigious 2400-metre handicap event and one of the toughest races on the Australian racing calendar, with the pressure on from the moment the barriers open.
Following the third declarations on October 9, 22 horses remain in the field with the final declaration due at 10am tomorrow.
Notably the past two Melbourne Cup winners, both French trained, Americain (2010) and Dunaden (2011), have the Caulfield Cup on their agenda. Williams, who won last year's BMW Caulfield Cup on Southern Speed, has elected to ride Dunaden.
Williams won last year's Geelong Cup on Dunaden and was to ride him in the Melbourne Cup but a suspension cost him the winning ride and the chance to complete the spring treble as he also won the Cox Plate on Pinker Pinker.
Last December, Williams won the group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400 metres) at Sha Tin on Dunaden and after riding him in work at the Werribee International Horse Centre last Tuesday believes the Caulfield Cup is a very winnable race for him, perhaps more so than the Melbourne Cup.
"He is physically a lot bigger, stronger and sharper than last year," Williams said.
"The way he is going now, my feeling is that the Caulfield Cup might be a more suitable race for him than the Melbourne Cup. He is racing a lot more keenly and the way the Caulfield Cup is usually run, it will really suit him."
Williams journeyed to England to ride Dunaden at his most recent start in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2400m) in July and even then felt the Caulfield Cup would be a winnable race.
"When I rode him in Europe, I thought he was a different horse and a lot sharper. He felt like a mile and a half horse, not a two-mile horse, and it was the same this morning," he said after the Werribee ride.
Williams believes because the Caulfield Cup weights are quite compressed, Dunaden is more than capable of winning the race, despite having to carry top weight of 58kg.
Without a doubt the pre-post favourite, the Gai Waterhouse-trained Irish galloper Glencadam Gold, will be hard to beat after his impressive win in the group 1 Metropolitan Handicap (2400 metres) at Randwick on October 6.
The Spring Racing Carnival concludes on November 17 with Sportingbet Sandown Guineas Day on Sandown's Hillside track.