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Red Cadeaux presents Arculli with HK Vase

Red Cadeaux dug deep to beat Jaguar Mail and earn his first Group 1 title (Hong Kong Jockey Club)
English shipper Red Cadeaux outdueled Japan's veteran Jaguar Mail in Sunday's Group 1 Hong Kong Vase, becoming the 11th straight European-based horse to take the longest of the International Races. Although the result prolonged the local runners' frustration in the 1 1/2-mile test, it was in one respect very much a win for Hong Kong. Red Cadeaux is owned by Ronald Arculli, former chairman of the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

"It's a very big deal," Arculli said, "and all credit must go to the Dunlop Racing team -- Ed, Becky and his travelling head lad, Robin. And credit too to Gerald Mosse, he's a very experienced rider here in Hong Kong and it helped that he rode the horse in Japan (last out)."

Mosse, who was winning a record eighth victory in the Hong Kong International Races, turned in his usual heady ride. Originally covered up in midpack on the fence, he deftly extricated Red Cadeaux on the backstretch and secured him a plum spot in fourth.

Meanwhile, the English filly Dancing Rain had been carving out a steady pace, stalked by Hong Kong's own Liberator and English-based Joshua Tree. The French colt Bayrir was also well placed just off the tempo, with Jaguar Mail, favorite and defending champion Dunaden, and France's Meandre behind him. Chinchon lagged behind as the last of 12 throughout.

Turning into the stretch, Dancing Rain knuckled down and tried to fend off Liberator and Joshua Tree, but she had no answer to the driving Jaguar Mail. The eight-year-old, who had come close in two Vases in the past, seemed to grasp the glory that had previously eluded him.

But Red Cadeaux, momentarily outkicked by Jaguar Mail, found another gear. Picking up strongly down the lane, Red Cadeaux drew alongside the Japanese hopeful, and the two fought to the finish. Meandre made rapid headway in the waning yards, but couldn't quite make it a three-way photo.

Red Cadeaux scored his biggest win on owner Ronald Arculli's home turf (Hong Kong Jockey Club)
Red Cadeaux, famously denied by a whisker by Dunaden in last year's Group 1 Melbourne Cup, now earned his first Group 1 laurel, appropriately enough, in a photo. The chestnut prevailed by a short head in a final time of 2:28 3/5 on Sha Tin's good turf. The top two were both coming out of unplaced efforts in the Grade 1 Japan Cup, underscoring the strength of the Tokyo showpiece.

"Jaguar Mail made me make my move because I feared at the 500 meters that someone was coming up," Mosse said, "so I decided right away to pick up. From there he really fought to the line and showed fighting spirit all the way.

"Even if we went for one more lap, no one would pass me!"

"At the 200-meter mark," Dunlop said, "I thought we were going to get beaten by Jaguar Mail, but Gerald (Mosse) gave him a great ride and he was in the right place. The horse battled very hard today.

"He deserved this win," the trainer added. "(Beaten) three pixels in the Melbourne Cup last year, no pace in the Melbourne Cup this year and he got struck into in the Japan Cup and we should have finished sixth; he was the leading European horse there (in eighth). It's a fantastic day for everyone.

"Ronald Arculli deserves huge praise, and I'm so chuffed for him -- to have a winner here is a huge deal," Dunlop continued.

"This is our third victory here and winning races like this is what it's all about for me. We've been lucky to have great owners and great horses to come here."

Red Cadeaux was making his second visit to Hong Kong, having finished a dead-heat third in the 2011 Vase, and he is now Dunlop's third major winner here.

Red Cadeaux delighted trainer Ed Dunlop (Hong Kong Jockey Club)
"To win three races -- Ouija Board (the 2005 Vase), Snow Fairy (the Group 1 Cup in 2010) and now Red Cadeaux -- I'm pinching myself to think he's now won a Group 1 over a mile and half," Dunlop enthused. "He's come through the handicap system and he gets better and better -- he's a really tough horse."

Jockey Douglas Whyte revealed that Jaguar Mail was starting to lean late.

"We had a good trip, and the horse did well, although wanted to hang in towards the winner in the end," Whyte said.

Meandre was beaten all of a half-length in third, and Liberator ran a race full of promise for the future in fourth.

Dunaden had every chance down the lane, but didn't deliver his typical punch and wound up a workmanlike fifth.

"Not at his best today," jockey Craig Williams said of Dunaden. "He ran a bit free. I followed the second horse through. He was gallant but didn't have his finishing kick today."

Bayrir, Dandino, Dancing Rain, Joshua Tree, Scarlet Camellia, Pagera and Chinchon completed the order under the wire.

"We had a good run," jockey Christophe Lemaire said of Bayrir, "and he picked well in the run home, but didn't quite have the acceleration needed. He's just a three-year-old and still capable of improving."

Jim Crowley, the rider of Dandino, was looking for more from his mount.

"I'm a little disappointed," Crowley said. "I was further back I'd like to have been from the draw, but I thought he'd pick up better for me."

The Vase lost its projected favorite Saturday when Sea Moon was ruled out with a blood abnormality.

Ronald Arculli (left) accepts the trophy from steward Anthony W.K. Chow (Hong Kong Jockey Club)
Red Cadeaux's biggest career victory improved his record to 33-7-8-5 and increased his earnings to nearly 1.8 million. The winner of a lowly Wolverhampton maiden in June 2009, he worked his way up the handicap ranks. Red Cadeaux just missed in his stakes debut in the 2010 Chester Handicap, and concluded the season with a decent ninth of 32 in the Cesarewitch.

After taking the 2011 Braveheart Handicap at Hamilton, Red Cadeaux made his mark at the Group level. The son of Cadeaux Genereux dominated the Group 3 Curragh Cup, and finished third in the Group 1 Irish St Leger, before his epic near-miss in the Melbourne Cup.

Red Cadeaux has been even better at the age of six this campaign. In his 2012 debut, he was second to subsequent Group 1 Ascot Gold Cup winner Colour Vision in the Group 3 Sagaro Stakes, in course-record time over Kempton's Polytrack. Red Cadeaux followed up with a good-looking victory in the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup over 1 3/4 miles, then dropped down in trip to 1 1/2 miles for his next three -- a best-of-the-rest effort behind St Nicholas Abbey in the Group 1 Coronation Cup, and a pair of thirds in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Group 2 Princess of Wales's Stakes at Newmarket.

Freshened for his world travels, Red Cadeaux returned from a four-month holiday for another crack at the two-mile Melbourne Cup, and did well to close from far back for eighth. In the Japan Cup 19 days later, he fared best of the Europeans in eighth, despite the trouble mentioned by Dunlop.

Bred by Foursome Thoroughbreds in Great Britain, Red Cadeaux RNA'd for $81,127 as a weanling at Tattersalls December. At the same venue the following October, he fetched $118,150.

Red Cadeaux is out of the Peintre Celebre mare Artisia, who is herself a half-sister to Irish highweight sprint sophomore Almaty. His third dam, Irish champion and classic heroine Al Bahathri, is responsible for classic-winning highweight and sire Haafhd, Group 2 victor Munir and Group 1-placed stakes queen Hasbah. Another of her descendants is multiple Group 1 star Gladiatorus.

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