Last week connections made the agonising decision to euthanise one of the world’s favourite racehorses, Red Cadeaux. At 10 years old, the grand old campaigner had raced in the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Japan, Hong Kong, Dubai, Singapore and of course Australia.
In a career that included 54 starts, he amassed more than $8 million in prizemoney across seven victories. However it’s for his gutsy, never-say-die efforts in all starts that the big chestnut will be best remembered. Throughout his amazing career Red Cadeaux finished runner-up in three Melbourne Cups, the Dubai World Cup and Queen Elizabeth stakes, and also finished third in the Hong Kong Vase, Irish St Leger and Tenno Sho.
While he may not have been as flashy as a Lonrho or Sunline, or notched the victories of a Black Caviar, Red Cadeaux will always hold a special place in the hearts of all Australian racing fans.
To celebrate his extraordinary career we look back on some of Red Cadeaux’s defining races.
The first victory- Wolverhampton 2009
Red Cadeaux made his racing debut over 1600 metres in April 2009. The first of what would be a staggering 54 career starts was by no means earth shattering. An 8.5 length 6th placing at $51 did not show any glimpse of what would come over the following six years.
Two more starts over 1600m and then 1800m saw improvement and displayed obvious staying potential, before Red Cadeaux finally found the distance he needed over 2450 metres at Wolverhampton in his fourth start. Easily dominating the field of 8, Red Cadeaux won by 6 lengths easing down at the line.
This first win would be followed by a second and another victory over the same distance in his next two starts.
Watch Red Cadeaux’s first victory here
First black type win- Braveheart Handicap 2011
In the two years following his first victory, Red Cadeaux steadily progressed through the grades to soon be regularly racing in black type company. In his 18th start over 2400m in the Listed Braveheart Handicap at Hamilton, Red Cadeaux broke through for the first of many black type wins.
This was followed with another victory only two starts later in the Group 3 Curragh Cup in Ireland over 2800 metres, and a close 3rd placing in the 2800m Irish St Leger before boarding a plane to Australia for the first of five times.
Second by a nose hair- Melbourne Cup 2011 While he had relative success in Ireland and the UK during 2011, few rated the chestnut a genuine chance in the Melbourne Cup. Piloted by local jockey Michael Rodd, Red Cadeaux was sent out at $31 going into the great race as his first-up Australian appearance.
What happened in the race has since gone down in Cup folk law. Red Cadeaux and fellow import Dunaden slugged it out the entire length of the Flemington straight both heading each other at different times. As the pair hit the line it was impossible to find a winner with the naked eye. Dunaden was eventually awarded the race in the closest photo finish in Cup history, while Red Cadeaux would finish bridesmaid twice more in 2013 and 2014.
Watch Red Cadeaux’s agonising Melbourne Cup second
Last and biggest victory- Hong Kong Vase 2012
The Group 1 Hong Kong Vase held at the famous Sha Tin is one of the world’s greatest staying races. Following on from 8th placings in both the Melbourne Cup and Japan Cup, few expected Red Cadeaux to be in the finish. But in his typical style and with the great Gerald Mosse on board, the gelding fought tooth and nail with Jaguar Mail down the straight to claim his 7th and final career victory.
Placings in the World Cup and Tenno Show in his next two starts proved the victory in Honkers was no fluke, and cemented Red Cadeaux and one of his generation’s greatest stayers.
Watch Red Cadeaux’s Hong Kong Vase victory