Last year’s fourth-placed international raider Trip To Paris needs to win a lead-up overseas before his British trainer Ed Dunlop confirms a Melbourne Cup 2016 bid this season.
Dunlop is best known down under for his three Melbourne Cup seconds with the late great Red Cadeaux.
He also prepared fourth past the post behind Prince Of Penzance in the 2015 edition of the ‘race that stops a nation’ when Trip To Paris finished two lengths off Darren Weir’s 101/1 winner.
That was the second run in Australia for Dunlop’s classy Champs Elysees gelding who made an immediate impact crossing second to Mongolian Khan a half-length back in the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
While a second shot at the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) over the two miles at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday November 1 is tempting, the Newmarket-based Dunlop still needs convincing Trip To Paris is up to it.
The six-year-old hasn’t won a race since late May last year when taking out the Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup (4023m), a genuine staying showdown won this year by current Melbourne Cup favourite Order Of St George.
This time in Trip To Paris has had two runs since recovering from a tendon problem.
The latest was on Thursday (Australian time) when fourth to the Roger Charlton-trained Quest For More in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3218m) at York.
Trip To Paris ran fifth behind subsequent Melbourne Cup runner-up Max Dynamite in last year’s Lonsdale Cup in his final lead-up before heading to Victoria.
Dunlop wasn’t as assured by the horse’s run in the same race 12 months on and has a possible start in the Doncaster Cup or Irish St Leger planned before making a final call on a Melbourne bid.
“It was a satisfactory run, without being startling,” Dunlop said according to Racing Victoria.
“He’s getting back to where he was.
“I’d like to find another race for him in three weeks, possibly there’s the Doncaster Cup or the Irish Leger.
“Really I think he’d need to win one of those races to change our minds [about not heading to Australia].”
Trip To Paris is currently rated a $26 in futures Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au led by the aforementioned Order Of St George ($11).
Dunlop also has the horse already nominated for both the 2016 Caulfield Cup on October 15.
He pays $17 in all-in Caulfield Cup odds led by Tarzino ($15) who returns in Saturday week’s Group 1 Memsie Stakes (1400m).
As for this week’s Lonsdale Cup winner Quest For More, his Wiltshire-based trainer Charlton also isn’t sold on a Melbourne Cup bid in 2016.
The Teofilo gelding ran ninth in last year’s race after a disappointing 16th of 17 runners behind Almoonqith in the Group 3 Geelong Cup (2400m), and is at $67 to win this year’s edition of the world’s richest handicap.
“It started raining today and I thought our chances were diminishing but George gave him a superb ride,” Charlton told the Victorian Racing Club Chairman Michael Burn on Thursday.
“He takes a bit of time to get going, it was like that in the Melbourne Cup. I think he’s a genuine stayer.
“[But] he’s a fragile horse and needs looking after and I think I’d rather look after him here in England.
“I like to see the horses and be with them a lot and that’s very difficult when they’re on the other side of the world.
“Later on, the stayers’ race in Dubai might be nice for him.”
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