German trainer Andreas Wohler knows what it is like to win the Melbourne Cup, having enjoyed victory in 2014 when Protectionist romped to an easy triumph under English champion jockey Ryan Moore.
Now the 55-year-old horseman is back in town and keen for a repeat effort next week courtesy of Red Cardinal, a horse who has gone under the radar somewhat as he has not had a preparatory run in this country.
Red Cardinal, a son of Coolmore stallion Montjeu, has not been seen in public since a disappointing fifth of eight in one of Europe’s key lead-up races, the Prix Kergorlay at Deauville.
That race was won by well-fancied Cup contender Marmelo, who ran an impressive Melbourne Cup trial when sixth in the Caulfield Cup.
But Wohler counsels punters against reading too much into that form, saying his galloper was not at his best that day.
“The Kergorlay is a good race but that day Red Cardinal was not himself, he didn’t like the ground [described as good] that day, and he also had a skin allergy,” Wohler told a Cup carnival launch crowd at Flemington racecourse on Tuesday.
And he is confident that he will not be far from the leaders next week, especially if Marmelo is in at the finish.
“I think where Marmelo is, we are at least,” he declared when asked about his horse’s prospects.
A cursory glance at Red Cardinal’s previous efforts suggests his trainer might not be far off the mark, even though Moore, who enjoyed such success with him three years ago, has changed his mind and will not now partner the horse as he cannot easily get to Australia from the Breeders Cup meeting in the US. Kerrin McEvoy, successful on Almandin 12 months ago, will now look for back-to-back wins aboard the German galloper.
Before his Deauville disappointment, Red Cardinal went to Belmont Park in America and saw off the useful English stayer St Michel in the Belmont Gold Cup.
And at the start before that he was too good for another very handy English horse, Nearly Caught, in a group 2 race at German track Hoppgarten in May. Both those races were over 3200 metres, the Cup distance.
Wohler was feted when he won at Flemington with Protectionist, famously being treated to a free breakfast the next morning at the cafe he had been patronising regularly while looking after his horse.
The memories of that success, and how big an event the Cup is, have made him determined to be involved on a regular basis.
“I have been racing all round the world but I have never experienced anything like the hype around the Cup.
“I think it is an open race this year. If everything goes right he can really be up in the mix. “
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.