Dunlop denied Melbourne glory by slenderest of margins


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The Independent Online

The young sheikh who had hoped to crown his abrupt emergence on the international scene in Louisville on Saturday – when Strong Suit lines up for the Breeders' Cup Mile – has ultimately done so five days ahead of schedule. For Christophe Lemaire was wearing the silks of Sheikh Fahad al-Thani when Dunaden yesterday gave France a second consecutive success in the Emirates Melbourne Cup, thwarting a first British victory in a photo with Red Cadeaux.

Dunaden accelerates the rise of Mikel Delzangles, who won the 2,000 Guineas last year with Makfi – and, unwittingly, the heart of the Qatari sheikh who had gone racing for the very first time that day. For the British, the gallant failure of Red Cadeaux replicated that of Bauer, also by a nose, in 2008.

Things looked far worse, however, for the locals. Already concerned by the increasing number of European contenders for their greatest race, they saw no fewer than six of the first seven places filled by the raiders. Americain, last year's winner, finished well for fourth ahead of Manighar, Lost In The Moment and Fox Hunt.

Ed Dunlop expressed suitable pride in Red Cadeaux. "We don't like to be second, but I've come all the way down here for the first time so you have to be delighted," he trainer said. "I was watching it with Luca Cumani and he thought I'd got it on the nod – but the best I thought we might have had was a dead-heat. If he's OK, we'll be back next year."

Silvestre de Sousa, who rode Fox Hunt, will return home to discover that his slender hopes of prising the jockeys' title from Paul Hanagan have surely evaporated.

A treble at Redcar yesterday extended the champion's lead to eight, with just four days of the turf campaign remaining.

The momentum of the jumps season, meanwhile, continues to build, though it was an exasperating day at Exeter for Richard Johnson and his boss, Philip Hobbs.

Captain Chris, winner of the Arkle Chase at Cheltenham in March, started favourite for the Betfred Haldon Gold Cup but made a series of errors. He was regrouping to challenge at the last when he made one blunder too many, finally discarding Johnson several yards after the fence. That left Medermit to see off Cornas by just over a length. Alan King, his trainer, believes the winner will be ideally suited by longer distances and may now train him for the Peterborough Chase at Huntingdon.

Poor Johnson then suffered a still greater indignity on Menorah, a top hurdler who made his chasing debut against just two rivals later on the card. The odds-on favourite unseated Johnson two out, with the race apparently at his mercy. That left Sam Winner in front but he fell in turn at the last – leaving Shammick Boy, the 16-1 outsider, to finish alone.

Kauto Star is on course for another crack at the Betfair Chase – and Long Run – at Haydock on 19 November following a gallop after racing with Big Buck's and Mon Parrain.