Dunlop tires of being Melbourne Cup bridesmaid
ENGLISH trainer Ed Dunlop has been a bridesmaid three times in the Melbourne Cup in the past four years, and punters think he can go one better this year with Trip To Paris.
Dunlop's grand stayer Red Cadeaux will compete in the race for the fifth time after coming up just short in 2011, 2013 and again last year.
But it's Trip To Paris that could break the drought for the Englishman, with rank-and file punters backing the five-year-old into favouritism, ahead of long-time No.1 elect Fame Game in early betting.
Some big gamblers were also happy to snap up the $8.50 fixed price on offer about Trip To Paris yesterday, one TAB customer outlaying $14,500 for a collect of almost $125,000.
While Red Cadeaux has run in the past four Melbourne Cups without a lead-up race in Australia, Dunlop adopted a different strategy with Trip To Paris, starting him in the Caulfield Cup where he ran a slashing second to Mongolian Khan.
The trainer said the horse had improved since that run and jockey Tommy Berry had said he was very hopeful of a good result today.
"Tommy Berry rode him yesterday and was delighted with him," Dunlop told racing.com.
"He is fresh and well at his identical weight to when he ran in the Caulfield Cup, and he seems on song."
While the 3200m Melbourne Cup trip has brought plenty of good horses undone, Trip To Paris should have no issue running the distance. He has won four of his past eight starts in England, including the Ascot Gold Cup over 4023m at Ascot in June.
While Trip To Paris was the medium of heavy support yesterday, punters weren't so keen to take the short odds on offer about Fame Game. The Japanese stayer has been the favourite since weights were issued, but drifted to $8.50 in Queensland and $6.90 in New South Wales as the money rolled in for Trip To Paris, Who Shot Thebarman, Gai Waterhouse's The Offer, Max Dynamite and Red Cadeaux.
Fame Game had been as short as $3.20 with some betting agencies after his eye-catching sixth in the Caulfield Cup, and despite the lack of support from once-a-year-punters, was still a clear cut favourite on fixed odds at about $4.40.
The six-year-old has outstanding form in Japan, having twice won the Group Three Diamond Stakes over 3400m, and was desperately unlucky when a close second to the world-class Gold Ship in the Group One Tenno Sho over 3200m in May this year.
Fame Game would be a disastrous result for betting agencies, with big punters having coupled him up for a small fortune with Caulfield Cup winner Mongolian Khan and Cox Plate winner Winx in feature doubles.
SELECTIONS: Fame Game, Preferment, Criterion, Trip To Paris.
- Trip To Paris $6.40
- Fame Game $7.00
- Preferment $9.30
- Max Dynamite $13.30
- Who Shot Thebarman $14.30
- Criterion $14.80
- The Offer $18.40
- Red Cadeaux $19.40
- Our Ivanhowe $22.40
- Almoonqith $23.00
- The United States $26.80
- Hartnell $27.20
- Bondi Beach $27.30
- Excess Knowledge $28.30
- Grand Marshal $29.00
- Gust Of Wind $33.80
- Big Orange $37.50
- Hokko Brave $39.60
- Sky Hunter $43.60
- Snow Sky $45.00
- Kingfisher $51.40
- Sertorius $69.90
- Prince Of Penzance $71.40
- Quest For More $71.80
- APN SPORTS BUREAU