Global racing empire Godolphin’s bid to win an elusive Caulfield or Melbourne Cup trophy down under continues this spring with their latest down under bound stayer, Royal Empire, winning their UK start on the weekend.
The Teofilo stallion earlier won their first-up start of the season in Britain taking out the Listed Steventon Stakes (2017m) and was back in the winners’ stall with another promising effort in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2617m) at Newbury.
It was an impressive effort with jockey Kieren Fallon keeping them midfield until the final 200m where they unleashed an impressive late burst to storm home a length and a half clear of 2011 Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux.
“He travelled really well for me – he really picked up when I asked him,” Racing Victoria reported Fallon as saying post-win.
“This fellow has got a lot of improvement in him and he can go on from here. He’ll be a much better on horse on better ground.”
While yet to be tested at Group level prior, trainer Saeed Bin Suroor has held a high opinion of the five-year-old for some time believing them a chance in the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival majors this year.
That opinion was justified with the Geoffrey Freer result, after which Godolphin’s racing manager Simon Crisford confirmed intentions to travel to Australia for a cups assault.
Their first goal will likely be the $2.5 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 19, however they will have to be a late entry for the classic not currently featuring in the nominations.
There’s also a strong chance connections will make a late entry for the up-and-comer in the world’s richest handicap – the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) to run at Flemington Racecourse on Tuesday November 5.
“I’m very pleased, and we’ll just have to hope he goes up a few pounds so he qualifies for the Emirates Melbourne Cup,” Crisford said according to Racing Victoria, speaking of the hopeful weight penalty they will receive for RV chief handicapper Greg Carpenter.
“He won this off 112 and it’s difficult to get in to the Melbourne Cup off less that 115.
“Hopefully the handicapper will take the view that he has a few pounds in hand.
“He’ll have a couple more runs before then, but I’m not sure where. After that, he’ll start quarantine on October 6, with a couple of weeks in England and a couple of weeks in Australia.”
Godolphin have come close to Melbourne Cup success on a number of occasions most notably with their three previous seconds with Crime Scene (2009), Give The Slip (2001) and Central Park (1999).
While Royal Empire doesn’t feature in the current Caulfield Cup odds at the Aussie bookmakers, they are in the Melbourne Cup betting markets at a quote of $26.
As for runner-up Red Cadeaux, who carried a big 61.5kg in the Geoffrey Freer, connections are keen to bring the Ed Dunlop-trained Cadeaux Generux gelding back down under for a shot at the Caulfield Cup 2013.
“It’s great to see him back to his best and the weight just beat him,” Dunlop’s assistant trainer George Peckham said after the race.
“He had been disappointing a few times this season and we wanted to run him on some good ground.
“The plan is to go into quarantine and start off in the Caulfield Cup.”
To get behind your early fancies for the upcoming spring cups at the hottest prices head over to bookmaker.com.au and enjoy a punt with the online bookie rewarding new depositing players with a bonus $500 welcome bet!