Trainer Ed Dunlop believes that the 2013 Melbourne Cup barrier draw is key to the chances of veteran stayer Red Cadeaux, who is returning to Australia for his third straight tilt at ‘the race that stops a nation’.
Red Cadeaux was defeated by the smallest margin in Melbourne Cup history when he finished a narrow second behind Dunaden in the 2011 edition of the race and finished a credible eight in last year’s race after drawing an outside barrier.
Dunlop has been happy with the condition of Red Cadeaux since he arrived at the International Equine Centre in Werribee just under a fortnight ago but is just hoping that the Hong Kong Vase winner draws an inside gate at the Melbourne Cup barrier draw that will be held at Flemington tomorrow afternoon.
“He looks well and I am happy with his condition.
“He is gaining weight, rather than losing it, which has to be a good sign.
“He did a piece of work this morning that the boys were happy with and visually looked ok.
“He is a better horse traveling and he loves it here.
“I would like a better draw, as long as his health remains good, I would like him to be drawn a little lower so that Gerald can be closer when he wants to be.
“We will get him in as good a condition as we can and I think that any horse that turns up on the day in good condition has a chance at winning.”
Red Cadeaux has not entered the winners stall since his memorable victory in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) at Sha Tin last December but Dunlop said the he has been happy with the Cadeaux Genereux entire’s form this season; with the seven-year-old placed at Group 1 level in the Dubai World Cup (2000m) at Meydan and the Tenno Sho (3218m) in Japan.
“His first run this season was second in the Dubai World Cup, which was followed by that incredible run in Japan when he was third over two miles,” Dunlop said.
“His European campaign didn’t go very well in the middle but he came back and ran a good second in the Geoffrey Freer but disappointed me in the Irish St Leger (won by 2013 Melbourne Cup runner Voleuse De Coeurs).
“That said, other horses did the same thing and interestingly Royal Diamond, who didn’t run well, came out and won the big stayers race at Ascot last weekend.”
Dunlop said that the strength of the Melbourne Cup field has continued to grow, since Red Cadeaux made his debut in the race in 2011, and said that the overall experience surrounding the race is one of the major reasons that a number of leading European trainers are so desperate to bring horses down to Australia.
“I think that it is a different type of race,” Dunlop said.
“The handicap has been shrunk due to so many good horses from Europe coming into the race, which is a testament to the race.
“We came here the first year and nobody paid us any attention and it was an amazing experience and we nearly won.
“It was a great place to be, we are back again and we would like to continue to come.”