Last year’s runner-up Red Cadeaux is a “better horse” this year according to trainer Ed Dunlop ahead of Tuesday’s 2012 Melbourne Cup at Flemington.
The experienced gelding was narrowly beaten by Dunaden on the big stage last year but meets him 2.5kg better at the weights this time around.
Dunlop is confident heading into Red Cadeaux’s second crack at the race, pointing to a more suitable preparation given he was already qualified at the time of entry.
“We had to put him in races that might not have been the best ones for him so he could qualify,” Dunlop said.
“It wasn’t the preparation I’d have chosen but we almost pulled it off.”
The son of Cadeaux Genereux has been in terrific form since departing Australian shores after the Melbourne Cup, having not missed a top three finish in six starts since.
He went straight into the Hong Kong Vase in December where he was third to Dunaden and had an excellent campaign over the British summer.
He won the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup, finished second in the Group 1 Coronation Cup, third in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes and third in the Group 2 Princess of Wales’s Stakes.
Dunlop has deliberately kept Red Cadeaux fresh ahead of the Melbourne Cup, believing that is his best chance of securing top billings in the $6 million race.
“Because he was in the race I was able to give him a mid-season break so we could come here with a fresh horse,” Dunlop said.
Australian jockey Michael Rodd was aboard the British galloper last year and he will again be in the saddle on Tuesday.
He is currently fourth favourite in Melbourne Cup betting markets at $12.00 behind French pair Americain ($6.00) and Dunaden and the Luca Cumani-trained Mount Athos ($8.50).