Adelaide Cup 2024 bound Dunkel back a winner

Dunkel’s biggest win to date came in Adelaide and the progressive gelding showed he was on track for another feature staying race in the City Of Churches with a strong win at The Valley on Saturday.

The Patrick Payne-trained four-year-old registered his first win since the Group 1 South Australian Derby (2500m) earlier in the year when he outclassed his rivals in the $130,000 Ladbroke It Handicap.

The 2040m event was just his second start since the Derby and he took great improvement from a first-up second placing at Caulfield to score despite carrying 8kg more than runner-up Independent Road.

“The other day he came out and built into the race and he just peaked on his run probably not long after entering the straight and he just maintained that gallop to the line,” jockey Billy Egan said.

“Today, even though he had a very cruisy run in behind them, he sprinter quite well and he was very good through the line and he was getting away from them.

“I certainly think an Adelaide Cup would be right up his alley.”

The $300,000 Group 2 Adelaide Cup (3200m) will be run at Morphettville on Monday, March 11.

Egan made a conscious decision to have Dunkel closer than normal given his hefty impost and settled behind the leader Grand Promenade, accelerating swiftly once the run appeared shortly after turning for home.

The $3.70 chance with popular betting apps scored by 1-1/4 lengths from $2.25 favourite Independent Road, who edged out Grand Promenade ($19) in what was the former Melbourne Cup sixth placegetter’s first run for Shane Jackson.

“The race worked out quite nicely, I didn’t want to be giving them too much of a start with the weight and it was just a matter of getting the runs at the top of the straight,” Egan said.

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