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Red Alto

Red Alto winning Wednesday’s Bendigo Cup (Image: Racing Photos)

Red Alto has delivered another knockout blow this spring when he fought off a wall of Melbourne Cup hopefuls to claim the $350,000 Bendigo Cup on Wednesday at the odds of $71.

Nearly 12 weeks ago, Red Alto made headlines when he was the only runner in a nine-horse field over 2400 metres at Randwick that wasn’t trained by Chris Waller and remarkably the horse managed to beat them all.

But that race was just a Benchmark 88 and on Wednesday, Red Alto’s task seemed near-impossible in the Group 3 Bendigo Cup as he had Melbourne Cup hopefuls Dal Harraild and Lord Fandango as well as the emerging Furrion to deal with.

But, ridden a great on-pace race by Michael Walker, Red Alto managed to hold off Dal Harraild ($5.50) and Sir Charles Road ($12) to win in a tight finish. Just behind them was last year’s Herbert Power Stakes winner Lord Fandango (fourth) and the $2.70 favourite Furrion (fifth).

Red Alto’s form has dropped off a little since his Randwick heroics in August as he ran fifth in the Benalla Cup and then fifth in the Hamilton Cup at his past two starts but trainer Brent Stanley explained the horse had a tongue tie added to his gear for the Bendigo race to help him breathe properly.

“The owners were a bit concerned after his last start but he got his tongue tie over the bit so togue tie today,” Stanley explained. “He could breathe today so he got to the line.

“He’s performed with these horses before and it’s the end of his preparation today but he gave us a great thrill when he won at Randwick beating all the Waller horses and he gave us another great thrill today.”

WATCH: Red Alto’s win


Dal Harraild (36th in order) and Lord Fandango (34th in order) were racing for a penalty that could lift them into next Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup field but neither import had the turn of foot to match that of Red Alto.

Both horses will now require a deal of attrition at Saturday’s Victoria Derby meeting where a number of higher-rated Cup hopefuls line up in the last-stop Lexus Stakes.

Kerrin McEvoy was pleased with the runner-up performance of Dal Harraild.

“It was a good run. The winner beat me across to a spot in the first couple of furlongs so I had to work a little bit past the winning post,” he said.

“He got into a nice rhythm and fought hard but ultimately that bit of early work probably cost him the win, but a good run and there’s some fun to be had with him out here for sure.”

Dwayne Dunn said Sir Charles Road, who looks assured of a Melbourne Cup start, will be peaking in Tuesday’s Cup after his Bendigo run.

“Ran really well. We switched him off a little more today. He’s probably been a run behind all preparation so he’ll take good improvement going into Tuesday,” he said.

Damian Lane said Furrion did not take him into the race as he had hoped aboard Lord Fandango.

“He ran terrific. I couldn’t get near the speed early. I thought I was on the back of the right horse but Furrion just didn’t take me far enough. I had to make a big run and he went super,” he said.

Jye McNeil said the favourite Furrion might be looking for the spelling paddock: “A little bit flat again today and he might have come towards the end of the prep now.”



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