Red Cadeaux (near): went down by a nose in last year's Melbourne CupPICTURE: Getty Images
Dunlop upbeat about Red Cadeaux chances
Australia: Ed Dunlop appears full of confidence about Red Cadeaux's chances of turning the tables on Dunaden, who beat him so narrowly 12 months ago in the Emirates Melbourne Cup.
Dunlop paid his first visit to the Werribee International Horse Centre on Thursday morning to monitor the progress of his six-year-old, who will again be ridden by Michael Rodd in Tuesday's A$6.2 million (£4m) contest.
"'Have a look at him - his coat looks amazing," said the trainer. "It was cold and he was woolly at home but he's had a clip and looks very good for it.
"Last year we were an outsider and no one gave us a hope in hell but we nearly pulled it off," Dunlop added.
"This year he was qualified so we were able to give him a mid-season break and come here with a fresh horse. The experts tell you that you can't win without having a run here but we nearly proved that wrong last year and I don't think he didn't win last year through lack of fitness or practice."
Red Cadeaux has been running in top-class 1m4f events since being touched off by Dunaden in 2011.
"'He beat us at level weights in the Hardwicke Stakes but has not won in Europe this year," Dunlop added. "He's got out here again in good form but has to give us weight."
Ed Dunlop: "he looks amazing"PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
He also put in a good word for another of Red Cadeaux's opponents. "Mount Athos sticks out the way he has been progressing through the ranks and Mr Cumani is desperate to win the race," said Dunlop.
Kerrin McEvoy is still sweating on a Cup ride with Godolphin's Lost In The Moment only 26th in the order of entry, which has a 24-runner cut-off point. He is likely to be pushed further down the order on Saturday at Flemington with the winners of the Mackinnon Stakes and Lexus Stakes both gaining ballot exemptions.
"Hopefully we can get a run in the Cup but it is pretty much a matter of wait and hope," said McEvoy, who won in 2000 with Brew.
"He's been running well without winning. He needs to bring his A-game but he is a horse that excels over two miles and ran sixth last year. It's one of the best fields I've seen but if he gets any luck he will be a top six chance again."
Frankie Dettori will ride Godolphin's main hope, Cavalryman, in what is his final Group 1 ride as retained jockey for Sheikh Mohammed's team.
In other Cup news, with Christophe Soumillon suspended on Sunday in Japan on the Tenno Sho card, Olivier Doleuze is expected to ride outsider Tac De Boistron for trainer Mick Kent.