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Red Cardinal became the second horse to win first-up from last year’s Melbourne Cup when surging late to claim the Listed Parramatta Cup (1900m) at Rosehill on Saturday.

Two weeks ago at Caulfield it was Godolphin import Avilius resuming with victory after contesting the 2018 edition of Australia’s greatest race.

Curiously the pair were the last two horses to cross the line at Flemington, beaten some 69 lengths by Cross Counter.

A fiercely-run 1900m contest on Saturday allowed Red Cardinal ($26) to swoop from the tail with the in-form Jason Collett aboard, who earlier in the day orchestrated another upset when piloting Time To Reign ($11) in the Group II Silver Slipper Stakes (1100m).

Collett said he had received some indication from trainer Kris Lees that Red Cardinal could bely his long odds in the $140,000 event.

“Kris rang me this morning and he was quite positive about him,” he said.

“He said this distance would probably be too short for him, but he had come back in the stable and been quite sharp in his work.

“He’s come out of the Melbourne Cup but he was obviously high quality and he showed that today in a strong run 1900m race.

“He’s a lovely actioned horse on that soft ground.”

Red Cardinal’s stablemate Big Duke ($19) was a length away in second while the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Age Of Fire ($16) finished a further three quarters of a length back in third.

Melbourne Cup runner claims Parramatta Cup

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