The deaths of two horses in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup have stolen headlines around the world – what’s a little hysteria between friends – but the real story out of the race for us horse lovers is phenomenal warhorse Red Cadeaux.
The English galloper, trained by Ed Dunlop and owned by former Hong Kong Jockey Club chairman Ronald Arculli, finished second for the third time in the world’s most coveted handicap under Gerald Mosse, a truly stunning effort despite being four lengths adrift of the German winner Protectionist.
He put himself on the “ultimate bridesmaid” platform alongside 1930s galloper Shadow King, who recorded two seconds and two thirds in the Cup from six attempts, his thirds coming behind two of Australasia’s true greats in Phar Lap and Peter Pan.
Red Cadeaux, now an eight-year-old but nine by Australian standards, is the most popular Brit to land on Australian shores since the late Princess Diana. He’s the best kind of Pom – he despises the “clouded hills” of William Blake’s Jerusalem and instead relishes putting the old blighty behind him as Heathrow drifts into the distance.
And in every sense, he is a horse of the world – the ultimate equine tourist.
Since his first trip across the Irish Sea in June 2011, taking the Curragh Cup by an ever-widening nine lengths, he has visited the Mona Lisa in France, boxed kangaroos in Australia, spent nights on the town in Wan Chai in Hong Kong, taken the bullet train in Japan, scaled the world’s tallest building in Dubai and shopped in Singapore.
Add in a trip to the Statue of Liberty and his passport may be complete.
Oh, and he’s run in some of the world’s best races, too. In fact, it is only in France and Singapore – where he had one start each – that he has missed out on the placings. In addition to three seconds in the Melbourne Cup...
...he has won the Hong Kong Vase...
...finished second in the Dubai World Cup...
...third in the Tenno Sho (Spring)...
and third in the Irish St Leger.
And yet, at home, his record is somewhat average. His best win was the Yorkshire Cup, a Group Two event, while he did finish a distant second that same year to St Nicholas Abbey in the Coronation Cup.
However, the Red Cadeaux at home is different to the beast abroad, and he continues to race consistently at the highest level. In fact, he has managed to earn in excess of HK$56 million from his travels, despite his sole international victory coming in the Hong Kong Vase.
Only Cirrus des Aigles can claim to be a more popular galloper globally and, in all fairness, they are probably neck and neck, fighting it out like the dogged horses they are.
In Australia, his status as an equine idol has been cemented by becoming an institution of the Melbourne Cup in recent years.
A mere 24 hours after the race, a complete racing nuffie was asked who had run 1-2-3?
His answer? “The two drunk horses and Red Cadeaux, of course.”
While he had to explain the drunk horses quip – that being, the winner started with a P and ended in -ist, not that he could remember if it was Pathologist or Procreationist or Protectionist, while third was “the barman” – he knew who Red Cadeaux was.
Name recognition among the general population in Australia is extraordinary when most can only tell you two winners of the Melbourne Cup – Phar Lap and Makybe Diva.
With the dead pair of Admire Rakti and Araldo also snatching the headlines, never has such a dominant Melbourne Cup winner as Protectionist received less fanfare. Perhaps he will get his opportunity on the world stage over the next 12 months.
As for old Red Cadeaux, Hong Kong beckons once again. He has never let his proud Hongkonger owner down here, with a win, a third and a fourth in the Vase from three attempts.
Who would be mad enough to say he can’t win again?