Reader Syd Knee asks, How many trips to the racing well is too many? #RedCadeaux‏


By Syd Knee

I am as saddened as any other at the news of the passing of the marvel, Red Cadeaux. However this may be the time to discuss the merits of asking any horse, even one as tough as this one, to do quite that much.

Red Cadeaux raced 54 times and travelled internationally for 5 consecutive years. He contested the Melbourne Cup on 5 consecutive occasions. It has been my observation that long-haul travel is difficult for horses, as is to compete in even one Melbourne Cup. Yet the fact that this horse was able to do both was against the odds. So much so, that I would argue that the connections were cheating the odds, at least in the end.

By all reports, trainer, staff and owner were more than kind to the horse, and they are grieving with the rest of us, and I don’t doubt their good judgement and horsemanship.

However, it would have been easy for them, as it was for us, to be swept up in what was one of racing’s great stories, the kind of story that served to attract others to the sport that we all admire.

Amidst all this, the race clubs like HKJC, VRC, ATC, the media, and the fans would have been serenading connections, asking “will he be back for a 5th tilt at the ‘Cup? Another HK Vase? Another Queen Elizabeth? BMW? A decision that few of us would envy to have to make, and the horse obviously told them yes, so that is to be respected.

Red Cadeaux was over 9 and a half years old on that fateful first Tuesday in November and I wonder out aloud if any horse of that age should be allowed to compete.

To be fair, he did not race at all until he was 3, but if we don’t allow them to race until two, shouldn’t there be an upper age limit or a career starts limit, say 50 or 60?

Makybe Diva managed 3 Melbourne Cups, 2 Sydney Cups, a Cox Plate and BMW etc and yet was retired at what was effectively 6 and a half years old and 36 starts. This followed what was arguably her greatest performance and the greatest performance by any horse in Australia in our lifetime – 3:19.79 on a Soft 5 carrying 58kg. There was not much left to prove, and I don’t think there was much left for old Red to prove either.

Vale the old marvel, thanks for the memories. Sincere Sympathies to the connections.

Syd Knee

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7 Responses to Reader Syd Knee asks, How many trips to the racing well is too many? #RedCadeaux‏

  1. Michael says:

    I agree . No matter how much they loved the horse it’s not a good look and reflects poorly on racing.
    Just gives the anti racing lobby another reason to take up news space.
    I think racing got it wrong here ,he’d done enough ,they’re not machines

  2. Kate says:

    Your views are those of many, so why hide behind a silly, made up name.

    • mel bourne says:

      That’s an after the event comment. Why should Red have been allowed to run in 2014 or 23. Where do you draw the line?

  3. Peter says:

    I disagree. These animals are well tuned/well cared for animals and are bred for racing. RC was fit and well, apparently injury-free, and had been quite successful and had made a name for itself at the highest levels over time. We humans have falls, some recover others don’t. There is an end time for all of us, the old and the not so old.

  4. Mark says:

    I’m concerned about Buffering an eight year old. After it’s win in Perth WA yesterday the trainer mentioned that Dubai and Royal Ascot are on the radar. 50 starts, $5.8m in prizemoney, multiple Group 1 winner. What else is there to prove Is it a case of owners being selfish?

  5. Peter says:

    Selfish or greedy? Neither in my book. If you have a horse which is still at the top of its game, is healthy and well and remains competitive then why shouldn’t it continue to race. Its connections are not going to persevere with an animal if it’s passed its “used-by date” and is just making up the numbers. We want to see the best horses continuing competing at the highest levels … and winning.

  6. Martin O'Connor says:

    Fields of Omagh was nine when he won the Cox Plate in 2006.

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