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Last year’s gallant runner-up in the ‘race that stops a nation’ Red Cadeaux has opened their Melbourne Cup 2012 campaign by running second at Kempton on Wednesday.
It was a promising season start for the horse that was beaten by the narrowest of margins in the Melbourne Cup’s 151-year history, Ed Dunlop’s Cadeaux Genereux six-year-old going down in a devastatingly close photo finish in the $6.2 million handicap with French raider Dunaden last November.
Red Cadeaux went on to run another minor placing behind Melbourne Cup winner Dunaden next start at Sha Tin when third in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) in December.
Given a well-earned rest after their international campaign, Red Cadeaux came back on Wednesday and caught the eye when crossing one and a half lengths away second to the Godolphin-owned Colour Vision in the Group 3 Sagarao Stakes (3200m) at Kempton.
Despite the defeat Newmarket-based Dunlop was thrilled with the first-up effort from his ace stayer, naming the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup (2800m) on May 18 as their likely next-up target ahead of the Melbourne Cup.
“I’m very happy,” Dunlop told the Racing Post.
“It was a good comeback from a horse that wasn’t wound up.
“He’ll drop back to a mile and six (2800m) for the Yorkshire Cup.
“All being well, he’ll go back for the Melbourne Cup.”
The 2012 Yorkshire Cup is also on the agenda for fellow Melbourne Cup hopeful Harris Tweed, the William Haggas-trained European having won the Group 3 John Porter Stakes (2418m) by an easy five lengths at Newbury on April 21.
Racing Victoria’s International scout Leigh Jordan confirmed that Dunlop was keen to bring Red Cadeaux back down under for another bid in the Melbourne Cup.
“Ed loved his first trip to Melbourne and he’s keen to return this year in the hope of going one better which we’re excited to hear because he’s such a great trainer,” Jordon said.
“Red Cadeaux is a big chance to return if his form remains strong and Ed is now training the talented former Italian horse Viola Ici for Australian connections so he too is a likely visitor this spring.”
It is shaping up as a battle of the imports in the Melbourne Cup again this spring with the early favourite in the bookmaker.com.au futures being the now Peter Moody-trained Manighar paying $18.
Anthony Freedman’s English imports Lucas Cranach who ran third in the Melbourne Cup last year, and Mawingo who debuted down under with a good win over the Flemington mile last month follow in $21 ahead of Red Cadeaux and Sanagas paying $23.
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