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Dunaden faces tough task in Melbourne Cup

French stayer Dunaden will have to set a weight record for an overseas horse if he is to land his second consecutive Melbourne Cup at Flemington today.

The favourite to win the Aus$6 million (US$6.2m) showpiece race over 3,200m is Americain, who triumphed in 2010.

But while all the pre-race talk has been of the two French champions, the event, the highlight of the Australian racing calendar, boasts the best field for many years with 14 Group One winners from four continents.

Dunaden received a weight penalty of one kilogramme after his impressive win in the 2,400-metre Caulfield Cup lead-up race two weeks ago and will now carry 59 kgs.

But Mikel Delzangles, the trainer of the seven-year-old stallion, believes the horse, who won by a nose last year, is good enough to triumph again.

“He is carrying a lot of weight but he is in good form,” Delzangles said.

“We knew after his Caulfield Cup victory he would have to carry a bit more weight and 59 kgs is a lot. But I’m sure he will try his best.”

Since the metric system of weights was introduced in Australia in 1972, the biggest weight carried by a Melbourne Cup winner was Think Big (58.5 kgs) in 1975.

The mighty mare Makybe Diva had 58 kgs when she won her third straight Melbourne Cup in 2005 but the last horse to win the race with more than 58.5 kgs was Rain Lover (60.5 kgs) in 1969.

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