English horseman Ed Dunlop is considering a return to Victoria with last year’s Melbourne Cup fourth placegetter Trip To Paris who races next-up in the Lonsdale Cup in August
The Champs Elysees gelding enjoyed a stellar campaign this time last year in the UK and down under that he’ll be out to replicate after a later start to the season starting next month.
Trip To Paris first caught the eye last June winning the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup (4023m), a race won this year by the current Melbourne Cup 2016 favourite Order Of St George.
From there Dunlop’s gelding ran third to subsequent Melbourne Cup fifth-placegetter Big Orange in the Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3219m), a two mile handicap running again this Thursday.
A fifth behind Max Dynamite, who crossed second to the Darren Weir-trained Prince Of Penzance in last year’s $6 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), followed for Trip To Paris in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3300m) before he headed down under.
First-up in Australia Trip To Paris ran just a half-length away second as a $31 roughie behind the since-retired Kiwi galloper Mongolian Khan in the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
He then went back up to the two miles for the world’s richest handicap and crossed two lengths back for a brave fourth in the Melbourne Cup.
This year Trip To Paris bypasses the Goodwood Cup, where the Michael Bell-trained defending champ Big Orange will be out to win again, and instead will next race in the Lonsdale Cup looking to improve on his fifth last year.
He was last seen running third to Charlie Appleby-trained Scottish in the Listed Steventon Stakes (2011m) at Newbury on July 16, his first run since injuring a tendon during the Japan Cup.
“It was an encouraging return and he came to hand quicker than I thought,” Dunlop said told AAP speaking of Trip To Paris’s first-up performance.
“I thought Goodwood was a bit too soon after that run and with the greatest respect to Goodwood, it is not the ideal track for a horse that had a tendon injury to run on.
“York gives us a nice break between races.”
His Newmarket-based trainer Dunlop is best known by Aussie race fans for his trio of Melbourne Cup second placings with the ill-fated Red Cadeaux.
Dunlop is hoping to go one better this year and finally take out an elusive ‘Loving Trophy’ with Trip To Paris in 2016, but said he would take it one race at a time with the Irish-bred stayer.
“He is in the Irish St Leger and various other races,” Dunlop said.
“He could also go back for the Melbourne Cup. We will just take it one race at a time.”
Order Of St George ($11) sits top of futures Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au followed by last year’s runner-up Max Dynamite ($17) who runs in Wednesday’s Galway Hurdle (3219m).
Max Dynamite could then face off in the Lonsdale Cup field against Trip To Paris, who can be found further down the all-in Melbourne Cup odds at a current quote of $26.
Despite his placing in the mile and half classic last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, Trip To Paris is at a longer price of $31 in all-in Caulfield Cup betting markets this season.
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