A smart win overnight in the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes (2414m) at Newmarket in Britain has Godolphin’s private trainer Saeed Bin Suroor eyeing a return trip to Oz for a 2014 Melbourne Cup bid with Cavalryman.
The veteran Halling stallion posted their ninth career win in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes when Silvestre De Sousa guided them to a half-length win over the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Hillstar in the mile and a half feature that they ran third in 12 months ago.
In third just a length off the winner was then fellow 2014 Melbourne Cup hopeful Pether’s Moon, who also handled the soft track well, ahead of the beaten favourite Arab Spring in fourth.
“I didn’t really want to make the running but had no choice and he seemed to find it quite enjoyable out in front,” De Sousa said post-win.
“He’s a horse who stays 1m 6f and 2m so I was quite happy with the position I was in.
“He’s very tough and very genuine. He has been very unlucky on occasions but he’s come back today and showed he still has it.
“I’m just delighted he’s come here and got his head in front.”
It was Cavalryman’s first-up run off a three month break and they were forced to take up the lead despite reluctance, setting a good pace before quickening to run on gamely over the final 400 metres.
Cavalryman was formerly prepared in France by Andre Fabre where they enjoyed a brilliant first few seasons highlighted by their third to Sea The Stars in the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (2400m) in 2009 on the back of their Group 1 Juddmonte Grand Prix De Paris (2400m) win.
Plenty more Group 1 racing was to follow as they raced exclusively in elite level company from June – October of 2010 after they’d been transferred to their Saeed Bin Suroor’s care at Newmarket.
After some decent British form midway through 2012 including a four and a half length win in the Listed Esher Stakes (3290m) at Sandown they were sent down under that November targeting the world’s richest handicap.
They contested the 2012 edition of the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington but could only manage to finish eight lengths away 12th behind the Lloyd Williams-owned Green Moon in the two mile classic.
Despite having spent over half the past two years on the sidelines, Cavalryman confirmed they were Godolphin’s best shot at the Melbourne Cup this year in the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes.
In the lead-up they will contest the Goodwood Cup where their Melbourne Cup claims will be further tested.
“He’s a really tough, sound horse and it’s remarkable to have an eight-year-old, who is still a full horse, loving it the way he does,” Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin racing manager John Ferguson said.
“I think the Goodwood Cup will be the next target.”
Bin Suroor, who has prepared three Melbourne Cup minor placegetters but no winner in the ‘race that stops the nation’ as yet, agreed that Flemington would make a good target again for the evergreen veteran who is tipped to improve over the extra distance.
“We will take him next to the Goodwood Cup and then think about taking him to Australiafor the Melbourne Cup,” he confirmed.
“He went two years ago and finished 12th but I think he is a better horse now and you can see from his form that he is late maturing.
“I think we will try and take two or three horses down to Melbourne this year and he will be one of them.
“The best trip for him is a mile and six furlongs (2800 metres) or even two miles (3200 metres). But he is a tough horse and he won a Group One over a mile and a half in France.
“He can go on any ground and has won on good to soft before and on fast ground in Dubai.
“I think the easing ground helped him more than it did the other horses today.
“We’ve been placed three times in the Melbourne Cup but will be taking some nice horses down again.
“The Melbourne Cup is different now. It used to be just a handicap, but now it is more like a Group 1. It is a very tough race, so we have to take the best horses.”
As for the third placed Dylan Thomas four-year-old Pether’s Moon, a possible Melbourne Cup bid is also on the cards for them according to their trainer Richard Hannon.
“I would love to see him in a Melbourne Cup as I think the race would really suit him,” he said.
“I would like to see him there at some stage and he does give the impression he will stay further than he has ran today.”
Cavalryman is currently rated a $34 chance in the futures Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au equal with over 15 other horses in markets led by Gai Waterhouse’s Sydney Cup winner The Offer.
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