Red Cadeaux and Jaguar Mail are two of world horseracing's battle hardened Group 1 pugilists and the pair ensured a great start to the 2012 LONGINES Hong Kong International Races as they traded blows stride for stride down the Sha Tin straight in a pulsating climax to the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Vase (2400m).
Red Cadeaux's previous claim to fame had been his gallant nose second to Dunaden in the 2011 G1 Melbourne Cup, and it was he who edged ahead at the wire to claim the spoils by a short-head in a time of 2m 28.73s.
''He deserved this win - three pixels in the Melbourne Cup last year, no pace in the Melbourne Cup this year and he got struck into in the Japan Cup and we should have finished sixth; he was the leading European horse there. It's a fantastic day for everyone,'' said the six-year-old's trainer Ed Dunlop.
''At the 200m mark I thought we were going to get beaten by Jaguar Mail but Gerald (Mosse) gave him a great ride and he was in the right place. The horse battled very hard today [Sunday].''
Red Cadeaux's victory will go down as a British triumph, but his owner is none other than Ronald Arculli, former Chairman of The Hong Kong Jockey Club.
''Ronald Arculli deserves huge praise, and I'm so chuffed for him - to have a winner here is a huge deal,'' continued Dunlop.
''This is our third victory here and winning races like this is what it's all about for me. We've been lucky to have great owners and great horses to come here. To win three races, Ouija Board (Vase 2005), Snow Fairy (Cup 2010) and now Red Cadeaux - I'm pinching myself to think he's now won a Group 1 over a mile and half. He's come through the handicap system and he gets better and better - he's a really tough horse.
''I hope the Melbourne Cup handicapper isn't listening to this! We may consider Dubai next as an option, there's the staying race but we'll probably look at the Sheema Classic now.''
The victory took jockey Gerald Mosse to a record eight wins at the LONGINES Hong Kong International Races stretching back to River Verdon's success in the 1991 Invitational Cup. He is now one clear of Olivier Peslier after Red Cadeaux's win.
''Even if we went for one more lap no-one would pass me!'' said the Frenchman post race.
''Jaguar Mail made me make my move because I feared at the 500m that someone was coming up so I decided right away to pick up. From there he really fought to the line and showed fighting spirit all the way.''
Mr Arculli was delighted with the win, especially after the horse dead-heated for third in this contest last year following his 2011 Melbourne Cup defeat.
''It's a very big deal and all credit must go to the Dunlop Racing team, Ed, Becky and his Travelling Head Lad Robin. And credit too to Gerald Mosse, he's a very experienced rider here in Hong Kong and it helped that he rode the horse in Japan. A year in racing's a long time but we might try Melbourne again next year.''
Jaguar Mail was having his fourth start in the Vase after finishing third (2008), and fourth (2009 and 2010) for trainer Noriyuki Hori. The Andre Fabre-trained Meandre overcame a troubled passage in the stretch to claim third, a further half-length back.