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Melbourne Cup trip on the line for Red Verdon

Aaron Hamilton in Latest News 19 Jun 2018
  • Hardwicke Stakes effort to determine Melbourne Cup chances.
PJ McDonald riding Red Verdon win The 32Red Wild Flowers Stakes at Kempton racecourse

Trainer Ed Dunlop will send progressive stayer Red Verdon to the Group 2 Harwicke Stakes (2406m) at Ascot on Saturday in order to qualify for the 2018 Melbourne Cup.  

Dunlop has mixed memories in Australia’s most famous race having finished runner-up on three occasions with Red Cadeaux before that galloper suffered a terrible leg injury in the 2015 Melbourne Cup and had to be euthanised several weeks later. 

"It brings back great memories. We've been beaten two pixels, then had the drama of losing our favourite horse in the race," Dunlop told AAP.

Despite the near misses and tragic loss, Dunlop is eager to conquer the Flemington showpiece which offers $7.3 million in prizemoney making it the world’s richest handicap race. 

"The challenge is the big thing. It was not something that was really on my radar, it was Ronnie Arculli (owner) who'd had a runner in the race in the past," he said. 
"He had a fascination with it and he said, 'let's take Red Cadeaux' - It is a special place.”

With a relatively low rating having won five races and placed in eight from 21 starts, Red Verdon needs to produce a career best effort if he’s to gain entry to the Melbourne Cup.

"We are having a lot of discussion about Red Verdon, whether he will get in,” Dunlop said.  
"He is rated 109, so he might need to go up a bit. He could run at Royal Ascot in the Hardwicke to try to guarantee a spot in the race, as the owner is keen to go out there with him.
 "The race is getting harder to win, as it is attracting proper Group One horses."

Red Verdon is a 20/1 chance in Saturday’s feature where he will face the likes of Crystal Ocean, Barsanti, Idaho and Defoe. 

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Melbourne Cup trip on the line for Red Verdon

Trainer Ed Dunlop will send progressive stayer Red Verdon to the Group 2 Harwicke Stakes (2406m) at Ascot on Saturday in order to qualify for the 2018 Melbourne Cup.

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