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The Final Countdown To The Hong Kong Vase

Wed 10 December 2014

Three continents, eight countries, seven victories and over £4,500,000 in prize money. Red Cadeaux is a numerical phenomenon, and on Sunday he will go in search of victory number eight as he tackles the Hong Kong Vase, a race he won in 2012, for the fourth time.

Red Cadeaux has not won since, but he has acquitted himself admirably on the most prestigious stages in global racing, finishing runner-up in the 2013 Dubai World Cup and occupying the same position in the last two renewals of the Melbourne Cup.

His four-length defeat by Protectionist last month was his fourth start in the Flemington showpiece, a record for an internationally-trained runner.

He will forever be remembered as the horse who went closest to breaking the British hoodoo on Australia’s proudest institution, succumbing to Dunaden, by an ever-shortening nose, on his first run in 2011.

The first British-trained horse to truly push the boundaries of international travel, Red Cadeaux has been a flagbearer for his trainer and the team at La Grange Stables. His global fan base is a widening one, and this weekend he will bid to emulate Luso and Doctor Dino in becoming only the third dual-winner of the HK$16,500,500 prize, and the first to regain his crown.

Victory would also break new ground for Ed Dunlop, who is currently one of three trainers to have lifted the prize twice. His first success came in 2005 with the superb racemare-turned-broodmare Ouija Board, who once again hit the headlines this summer courtesy of her fourth foal, dual-Derby winner Australia.

Red Cadeaux will face 11 rivals when he bids to fell more records on Sunday, including European counterparts Flintshire, runner-up in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, and Snow Sky, who finished third in the St Leger, but he is one of only six to have triumphed at Group One level.

Red Cadeaux might now be an eight-year-old with his ninth birthday on the horizon, but he showed in Melbourne that the first still burns, and there would be no more fitting birthday celebration for this globetrotting superstar should he go out and do what he does best all over again.  

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