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Stable Musings With Ed Dunlop

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Ed Dunlop With Red Cadeaux | Racing Post

By Chris McGrath

Ed Dunlop could not walk 10 yards at Tattersalls this week without being stopped, by friend and stranger alike, and having his hand grasped in sympathy. Even as he leaned against a paddock rail, his back to the yearlings being led by, he heard one of the handlers calling out, “Sorry about the horse, Ed.” The civil thanks he returned, in every case, almost seemed to represent a fragment of his infinite gratitude to Red Cadeaux (GB) (Cadeaux Genereux {GB}) himself. For however bitter his loss, Dunlop is careful not to lose sight of the one, abiding consolation. “We have to remember one thing,” he says. “And that is how lucky we were to have him.”

Doubtless Red Cadeaux felt much the same way about his trainer. After all, Dunlop had already supervised one stellar international career with Ouija Board (GB) (Cape Cross {Ire}). The hardiness that sustained Red Cadeaux, until he finally pushed himself beyond the limit in his fifth crack at the G1 Melbourne Cup, had been matched by the delicacy of his handling by Dunlop and his staff. It is achievement enough simply to get a horse to the gate 33 times in stakes company, never mind having to deal with issues of shipping and acclimatization in two-thirds of them.

As he comes to terms with the loss of his globetrotting 9-year-old, euthanized in Australia last week, Dunlop could do worse than recall how Red Cadeaux was once just one among another nameless crop of yearlings entering his Newmarket stable. As a foal, in fact, he was led out unsold at 40,000gns at the equivalent sale to the one in progress at Tattersalls; he then changed hands in the same ring the following autumn for 54,000gns. With that in mind, it seems fitting that all three of the young horses nominated by Dunlop for this short series, designed to keep TDN readers ahead of the curve in 2016, should all be owned–just like Red Cadeaux–by Ron Arculli.

Asked to pick out a horse in his care that should be pardoned reverses in 2015, Dunlop suggested the 3-year-old Dark Red (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}). “He ran six times in the first half of the season, and was beaten six times,” he said. “In the end I was getting rather annoyed, because he definitely has ability. He showed that when beaten a head at Beverley, finishing fast after getting stuck on the inside. Eventually we decided to have him gelded, turned him out and I’d be optimistic that next year he can come back and prove himself a well handicapped horse.”

Browsing through those prospects that have just begun to show their hand, meanwhile, Dunlop is quick to offer encouragement for Red Cadeaux’s half-brother. A 220,000gns foal purchase this time two years ago, Amazing Red (GB) (Teofilo {Ire}) seems to have shown rather more precocity than his illustrious sibling. “Unfortunately he had one or two little niggles, so we put him away,” Dunlop said. “But he had worked very nicely before that.”

One who is already up and running, however, is Red Verdon (Lemon Drop Kid). Though sent off at 50-1, he was only beaten a nose on his debut at Wolverhampton last weekend. “He came from the breeze-up sales here and spent three months turned out afterwards,” Dunlop said. “But Joe Fanning, who rode him on Saturday, said that he liked him and that he could be a nice horse.”

Even before the perennial need for fresh blood was so poignantly reiterated by the loss of his flagbearer, Dunlop had supported several young sires at the yearling sales this autumn.

“As usual some of the first-season stallions seemed to be more buyable,” he said. “Sadly I couldn’t get my hands on a Nathaniel, whose stock I thought looked really nice, but I have yearlings by Sir Prancealot, Mayson and Born To Sea. We were at sales all around the world, and nice horses were hard to buy everywhere: Doncaster was strong, all the boutique sales were strong, and I felt the 25-grand bonus at Tattersalls made a real difference. But we found some nice ones, I hope. Of course, we always love them all in November, so we’ll just have to wait and see.”

As a footnote, TDN is also asking trainers to nominate a horse from another stable–other than Air Force Blue (War Front)–to have shown enviable credentials for the 2016 Classics. “It’s probably no more original than Air Force Blue,” Dunlop apologized. “But two fillies from the same yard looked a cut above the rest in winning their Group 1s this autumn: Minding (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) here at Newmarket, and Ballydoyle (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in France.”

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