Global racing operation Godolphin strengthened their claims for two internationals ahead of the 2014 Melbourne Cup down under this November with stablemates Cavalryman and Ahzeemah running one-two overnight in the Goodwood Cup.
Scoring an upset result in the Group 2 Artemis Goodwood Cup (3200m) in Britain where the Queen Elizabeth-owned Estimate was short-priced favourite, the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained quinella is earmarked for a possible Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival campaign.
Less of a chance to make the trip to Victoria targeting the world’s richest handicap meanwhile is Goodwood Cup third placed Brown Panther who was five lengths off the winner when unsuccessfully defending their title.
Group 1 winning Halling eight-year-old Cavalryman made it back-to-back wins for the season following their first-up success in the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes (2414m) at Newmarket earlier in the month.
On Thursday night they got a lovely run and a great ride from Kieren Fallon.
They led over the final two hundred metres in the two mile classic, kept on the inside over the closing furlong before holding on to win by half a length.
“He’s a good fighter, he goes on any ground and he has improved with age,” Bin Suroor said of Cavalryman.
“He showed some turn of foot.”
In second was the fellow Godolphin-raced Dubawi five-year-old Ahzeemah who didn’t quite have the pace to run down their winning stablemate in a brave run, recovering after getting outpaced and hampered for a run inside the 200m.
“Ahzeemah needed the race first time out and then he didn’t stay two and half miles (4000 metres) in the Gold Cup. Two miles (3200 metres) is the best trip for him,” his trainer added.
Both are now on track to target this year’s $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington, futures betting for which is already open at Ladbrokes.com.au, with Cavalryman the better fancied of the duo.
“Now we take him to York for the Lonsdale, and at the end of the season I will talk to Sheikh Mohammed, but it could be the Melbourne Cup,” Bin Suroor said.
Cavalryman travelled down under two years ago for a run in the 2012 Melbourne Cup when 12th behind the Lloyd Williams-owned winner Green Moon.
In the latest Melbourne Cup odds at the Aussie bookmakers Cavalryman is now rated a $34 chance while Ahzeemah pays around $51.
“Ahzeemah could be a horse for the Melbourne Cup,” Bin Suroor confirmed.
“Both Cavalryman and Ahzeemah are tough horses and they do really well over this trip.
“In Australia, you need a horse with class and speed and both of them have the speed and good to firm ground suits them.”
Bin Suroor could actually saddle-up three horses in this year’s Melbourne Cup field also nominating Goodwood Cup sixth placed Excellent Aim as another possible runner in the ‘race that stops a nation’.
The Tom Dascombe-trained Brown Panther meanwhile was an eye catching eighth behind Gai Waterhouse’s import Fiorente last year’s Melbourne Cup, the Shirocco six-year-old plugging on well in the Goodwood Cup.
They had a nice margin over fourth placed Brass Ring who was beaten 12 lengths and like Ahzeemah are out to $51 to win the Melbourne Cup 2014, drifting after their Goodwood defeat.
Connections though are leaning towards a run in the Irish St Leger and Ascot’s Long Distance Cup over a Melbourne Cup bid with Brown Panther.
Also a chance for the Irish St Leger is beaten Goodwood Cup favourite Estimate, the Sir Michael Stoute-trained mare failing to beat home any of her rivals when eighth.
“(Jockey) Ryan (Moore) said she was never happy, right from the moment he jumped off,” Her Majesty’s racing manager John Warren said post-race.
“I think it’s like the time she ran here before in the Lily Langtree, she just didn’t handle the track.
“It’s complicated now. We hoped if she did well today we’d be brave enough to go for the Irish St Leger, to stop off and see if she had enough to go for the Melbourne Cup.
“That was on the back burner as an idea but as she doesn’t handle soft ground, there are so few options for her.
“I think we’re back to the drawing board now – but I think after today that Melbourne is probably out of the window.”
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