Four-year-old European galloper Trip To Paris could be Flemington-bound this spring with a Melbourne Cup 2015 bid on the cards for the recent Royal Ascot winner.
On day three of the famous Royal Ascot carnival the Ed Dunlop-trained gelding won the Group 1 Gold Cup (4023m), part of the British Champions Series, thanks to a gun ride from former jumps jockey Graham Lee and an excellent late burst of speed from the 12-1 chance.
Finding the inside rail over the final furlong, Trip To Paris was able to beat home the better fancied Aidan O’Brien-trained Kingfisher (5-1) while the previously undefeated race favourite Forgotten Rules (5-2) from the Dermot Weld stable crossed for third in the staying classic.
“He gave me a great ride,” winning hoop Lee told Channel 4 post-victory.
“I got on him in the parade ring and he was so switched off and relaxed and he raced that way.
“He was just conserving his energy and … then there was a gap down the rails. I’ve had a good day in the office so I’ll enjoy it.”
It was a meaningful result for Dunlop especially as his father John won the same race back in 1974 with Ragstone.
“It’s amazing,” he said.
“My parents have the Gold Cup in the dining room at home and it’s been there since 1974.
“He’s a very good horse now. He’s won a Chester Cup and a Gold Cup which is a pretty big deal.”
Trip To Paris could now make the trip down under this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival with connections eyeing a run in the world’s richest handicap, the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) on the first Tuesday of November.
Whether or not Dunlop’s emerging stayer is part of this year’s Melbourne Cup make-up will come down to the weight allocated by Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter however.
Dunlop could also give his star veteran Red Cadeaux yet another shot at the Melbourne Cup despite the last place effort in last Saturday’s Hardwicke Stakes (2400m) by the three-time runner-up in the famous two mile classic.
“The Australians, the clever ones, said ‘You ought not be running in the Gold Cup because you’ll spoil his mark (handicap) for the Melbourne Cup’, but I think his owners will want to do it now. Why not?,” the Herald Sun reported Dunlop saying of Trip To Paris.
“Steve Nicholson, who also looks after Red Cadeaux, and until today he always said, ‘He (Trip To Paris) is not coming on the same plane as Cadeaux’.
“He’s a stayer that can really quicken — he was unlucky in the Rosebery Handicap (2200m) earlier this year, so he’s got a turn of foot.”
Futures Melbourne Cup odds are already open at the country’s premier bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au with Trip To Paris listed as a $26 shot in markets led by Fame Game ($15), while Red Cadeaux pays $34.
To check out the full all-in markets and place your bets on the ‘race that stops a nation’ sign-up with Ladbrokes today!