Connections will be simply glad he’s arrived safely at Sha Tin after several episodes of bad luck and unavoidable issues that have plagued his international campaign starting with a delayed flight to Australia when the plane suffered a broken windscreen and he had to disembark en route in the UAE.
An attempt at the Melbourne Cup had beckoned for RED VERDON after a string of four consecutive second placings in domestic Group company from May to August as he was proven effective over a variety of distances from 2400m to 3200m. The Caulfield Cup was pinpointed as a prep run for the big race on the first Tuesday in November, but he met significant traffic in running and a clear path through was blocked in the final stages. Despite that disappointment, the plan was still Flemington, until a foot abscess flared up before the race. Assistant trainer and travelling companion Robin Trevor-Jones said: “It was unfortunate and just bad timing. The abscess took its time to burst. So, the decision was made to pull the plug and give his foot every chance to get over it.”
Thankfully, RED VERDON has the advantage of Ed Dunlop on his side, who is the most successful British trainer at the Hong Kong International Races. His greatest triumph came in 2005, when the sensational race mare Ouija Board won the Hong Kong Vase at the end of an outstanding season. More recently, the Newmarket based trainer has tasted success with Snow Fairy in the 2010 Cup and Red Cadeaux in the 2012 Vase and has become well versed in how to prepare a horse for a Sha Tin raid. RED VERNON’s owner, Ronnie Arculli, is a native of Hong Kong and actively encourages an international campaign for his best horses, with his blue and red silks being carried to success at many overseas meetings.
Red Verdon will be an outsider in this year’s renewal, facing a host of G1 performers including infamous local contender Pakistan Star and a strong European force, led by Waldgeist and Eziyra. Dunlop acknowledges his chances: “I appreciate that Red Verdon will be a longshot and that's reflected from his recent form but there is nothing ventured nothing gained and Mr Arculli says he would love to give it a crack and see how we get on.”. Fortune favours the brave and RED VERDON does deserve a change in luck.