Red Verdon (2nd from left) has run second at Royal Ascot to earn a trip to Melbourne.
A second to Crystal Ocean in the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot has been enough to convince connections Red Verdon can be a force in the Melbourne spring carnival.
Trained by Ed Dunlop, Red Verdon finished 2-1/2 lengths behind Crystal Ocean who gave Sir Michael Stoute his 11th win in the Group Two race over 2400 metres.
Red Verdon is owned by Ronald Arculli who also raced the Dunlop-trained three-time Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux.
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“It was a great run,” Dunlop said.
“He’s so consistent. He’s improving and we came here because there wasn’t a huge field and to try to get our rating up a little bit.
“We discussed a while ago that the likely option for this horse is to go to Australia. We will work back from the Caulfield Cup and the Melbourne Cup.
“He’ll probably have one more run before we take him to Australia.”