Red Cadeaux: Dunlop hoping he can make history
PICTURE: Masakazu Takahashi
RED CADEAUX will create sporting history simply by starting in the Emirates Melbourne Cup, becoming the first international horse to line up in four successive Cups, but that would be nothing compared to the significance of being the first British-trained horse to win the race.
In an era when international runners have dominated Australia’s great staying and middle-distance races and European visitors are almost as common on a racetrack as in the backpackers’ hostels, a first British-trained winner of the Melbourne Cup remains devilishly elusive.
Since the turn of the century the ‘race that stops a nation’ has been won by Ireland, Japan and France (twice), but Britain has drawn a blank despite sending more runners than any other non-Australasian nation.
Likewise, despite forming the largest national contingent at Werribee quarantine centre it was Japan, with Admire Rakti, and Ireland, with Adelaide, who defeated the home team in last month’s Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate.
In fact, with their repeated poor draws and niggling injuries – My Ambivalent, Side Glance and Lord Van Percy have all missed races they would have been big chances for – it has seemed at times as if the British contingent down under were labouring against some malign force.
It is not, however, as if British-trained horses have performed poorly in Australia. In the past seven years they have recorded five runner-up placings in the Melbourne Cup and it is to Red Cadeaux, responsible for two of those near misses, that the nation looks for one better.
A veteran campaigner of eight years, Red Cadeaux has raced around the world and established himself as one of the all-time stars of international racing, picking up prize-money in some of the world’s most prestigious races. Yet for trainer Ed Dunlop nothing would compare to victory at Flemington.
Red Cadeaux on his previous travels in Singapore
“It would mean everything to win it,” he said. “It would probably be the greatest victory of my training career. It would also mean a huge amount for [owner] Ronny Arculli, as it was his dream to win the Melbourne Cup. I think it would be an amazing, amazing day.”
Despite his advancing years, Red Cadeaux is reported to be in perfect shape for the race.
“He looks as good as he’s been since he’s been here and his weight’s good,” said Dunlop. “I suppose he’s looking as good as he ever has, although I don’t know why. He’s been here longer to give him as much as a chance to let him settle in. We’re very happy with the way he is moving and all credit to my team.”
Roger Varian saddles the temperamental My Ambivalent and believes her form entitles her to greater respect than local odds of up to 50-1 suggest.
“Her form is very good, she brings the best Stakes form from Europe and is well-weighted,” he said. “The unknown is the two miles but everyone seems to believe that you need a 10f or 12f campaigner that can kick off a pace and she certainly has that, so I’d be very confident, as long as she relaxes early in the race, that she’ll get the distance.”
Seismos finished 15th of 18 in the Caulfield Cup and is also big odds for the Melbourne Cup, although trainer Marco Botti – a past trainer of a Cup third and fifth – backed him to outperform his odds.
“I would say Seismos should run a respectable race, he shouldn’t be an outsider,” he said. “He was only beaten five lengths in the Caulfield Cup and hopefully it will bring him on.”
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