England’s Ed Dunlop has ruled out a Hong Kong Vase 2015 assignment Sunday week for his Melbourne Cup fourth placegetter Trip To Paris after he finished out of the money over the weekend in the Japan Cup.
The five-year-old Champs Elysees gelding may have had one run too many according to his Newmarket-based trainer after Sydney jockey Tommy Berry failed to get the horse closer than 14th behind this year’s surprise Japan Cup winner Shonan Pandora.
The failed Japan Cup run followed a strong two start Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival raid by Trip To Paris who debuted down under on October 17 for a brave second crossing a half-length off Murray Baker’s New Zealand galloper Mongolian Khan in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
While injury ruled Mongolian Khan out of a shot at the Spring Cups double with a run in the world’s richest handicap over the two miles at Flemington on the first Tuesday of November, Trip To Paris backed-up in the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
There he was far from disgraced when crossing just two lengths off Darren Weir’s upset 101/1 winner Prince Of Penzance with Berry in the saddle.
Earlier this year Trip To Paris won the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup (402m) back home in July and then ran third to Big Orange, a good fifth at an outsider’s $61 price in the Melbourne Cup, in the Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3219m).
He also ran fifth to Max Dynamite, another Melbourne Cup raider this spring who ran the race of his life for second in the ‘race that stops a nation’ with Frankie Dettori in the saddle, in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3300m) at York in August so has been racing at the top level for a long time this campaign.
Originally Dunlop and connections at La Grange Partnership were considering a Sha Tin run on December 13 in the Group 1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) over the mile and a half but instead will send Trip To Paris out for a well-deserved break.
“He got a long way back early on, which was surprising from his draw in stall two, but it looks like this was one race too many,” Dunlop told AAP.
“He didn’t have the same sparkle as he showed in Melbourne. He’ll have a holiday now, but stays in training.”
The Australian representation in this year’s Hong Kong Vase lies in the Chris Waller-trained Preferment who failed to make an impression in the Melbourne Cup last start when 20th of 24 starters.
Before that he won the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington and ran ninth behind star stablemate Winx in the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Early Hong Kong Vase odds at Ladbrokes.com.au are currently led by the Andre Fabre-trained Flintshire ($3.80) who ran second to Golden Horn in the Group 1 Prix De L’arc De Triomphe (2400m) in France in early October.
Waller’s four-year-old Zabeel stallion Preferment occupies the second line of Hong Kong Vase betting paying $5.50 to win his first race over that distance since last year’s Victoria Derby as a three-year-old.
Other notable Hong Kong Vase hopes in 2015 include the Aidan O’Brien-trained Cox Plate third placegetter Highland Reel, Sir Michael Stoute’s recent Group 1 Pattison Canadian International Stakes winner Cannock Chase and the Qatar Racing Limited-raced King’s Best colt Ming Dynasty.
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