Newmarket trainer Ed Dunlop expects a better performance from Red Cadeaux when he lines up in the Group 1 €200,000 Gain Irish St Leger (1 mile, 6 furlongs) at the Curragh in Ireland on Sunday and hopes to book a third trip to Australia for the Melbourne Cup.
Red Cadeaux had been well beaten at his two latest Group 1 appearances but Dunlop was encouraged with the seven year old’s last start second to Godolphin’s Melbourne Cup fancy Royal Empire in the Group 3 £55,000 Betfred TV Geoffrey Freer Stakes (1 mile 5 ½ furlongs) at Newbury on August 17.
“His last run was much better,” Dunlop said.
Red Cadeaux was well beaten when ninth to Al Kazeem in the Group 1 £500,000 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (1 mile, 2 furlongs) at Royal Ascot and then didn’t do much better when sixth to Novellist in the Group 1 £1m The King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes (1 mile 4 furlongs) at Ascot on July 27.
Dunlop had given plenty of thought of tackling the Group 1 $2.65m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 19 but the prospect of a softer track at the Curragh influenced him to go to Ireland instead and expects Red Cadeaux to show more improvement.
“We just thought that he would get more suitable ground at the Curragh,” Dunlop said.
“The danger is it would be faster at Caulfield, and that would mean he would be having two runs quite close together on quick ground. We’ll look to Australia after this.”
A pleasing run on Sunday will seal another trip to run in the Group 1 $6.2m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 5.
Red Cadeaux has been to Flemington twice and got very close to securing the Melbourne Cup trophy when a nose second to Dunaden in 2011 and then returned last year to finish eighth to the Lloyd Williams owned Green Moon.
The much travelled galloper raced in five different countries, including England, since last year’s Melbourne Cup, performing creditably in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Dubai and collected a Group 1 prize taking out the HK$15m Longines Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin on December 9.
Red Cadeaux has been marked a $41 chance in the Melbourne Cup with the Darren Weir trained Puissnace De Lune heading the market order at $7, ahead of English import Sea Moon at $11 and last year’s runner-up Fiorente at $12.
Queensland Derby winner Hawkspur is in the betting at $14 just ahead of 2012 victor Green Moon at $17.