It was like running a marathon with a stone in your shoe.
That’s how triple Group 1-winning trainer Edward Cummings described Duais’ failed spring campaign last year before discovering the mare required fetlock surgery.
Fast forward from when Duais finished among the tail enders in last year’s Melbourne Cup, Cummings almost pulled off the training feat of the season in last month’s Doomben Cup.
Having her first start since undergoing surgery and her return run in six months, Duais was beaten less than two lengths when she returned to Queensland for the Group 1 feature.
The daughter of Shamus Award has recovered well form her Doomben Cup performance and is primed for her next target in the $1.2 million The Q22 over 2200 metres at Eagle Farm on Saturday.
Duais, who won the Queensland Oaks in 2021, finished a courageous fourth to the Peter and Paul Snowden-trained Huetor, who made it back-to-back Doomben Cup wins.
“She’s taken a lot of improvement from her Doomben Cup run,” Cummings said.
“She came back to Sydney after the Doomben Cup and has been working well so I’m confident she’ll run well again.
“I thought she should have finished a lot closer in the Doomben Cup but she couldn’t get out to where she wanted to be and missed a run.”
The second-up hoodoo doesn’t faze Cummings who has pencilled in an ambitious spring campaign for Duais.
“She hasn’t raced since the Doomben Cup and being second-up doesn’t worry me,” Cummings said.
“I’d be more worried if it was two weeks between runs.”
Duais has earned more than $2.92 million in prize money with seven wins and five placings from 24 starts and will smash the $3 million barrier if she wins or places in the Q22, formerly known as the P J O’Shea Stakes.
Trainer Annabel Neasham has won the past two Q22’s and will be shooting for a hat-trick of wins with Numerian.
Numerian produced a gutsy effort to just go down to Huetor in the Doomben Cup which was the imported stayer’s first run in six weeks since finishing sixth in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth at Randwick on April 8.
Neasham’s Brisbane stable manager Todd Pollard is hopeful Numerian can turn the tables on Huetor in what will be his final run of the winter carnival ahead of a spring campaign in Melbourne.
“He’s a nice older galloper in our stable and another European who loves it Down Under,” Pollard said.
“He went to the beach on Wednesday and bounced off the float like a two-year-old when he got home.
“It’s a competitive race again and he won it last year so hopefully he can do it again.”
– Racing Queensland