British stayer Cavalryman is set to make his return to Australian racing next week in the Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m), two years after finishing twelfth to Green Moon in the same race back in 2012.
Hoop Craig Williams will ride the nine-year-old horse, declaring him as a “major player” in this year’s race that stops the nation.
Williams rode the Godolphin horse on Monday during trackwork at Werribee, presenting a very strong case for Cavalryman afterwards. Speaking to TVN, the jockey said the horse was a contender due to it being a “very even year”.
“He’s healthy, he’s well, he’s very alert. He doesn’t have any ping or acceleration, but the further I went the more he gave me in the gallop,” Williams said.
“He’s going to be a major player, no doubt.
“He is not coming across as a nine-year-old. He’s in career best form and he hasn’t had the racing that most of our Australian horses have had at nine years of age.
“He has very solid two-mile (3200m).”
Williams was quick to note that although Cavalryman finished outside the top ten in the 2012 Melbourne Cup, his sectionals were the fastest for the final 1000 metres and he is only set to improve this year.
“Visually it didn’t look that way, but it was on the clock in what was a slowly run Melbourne Cup,” he contined.
“His form this year is excellent, much better than when he was here two years ago.
“After sitting on him this morning, I’m very happy riding him going into the Cup.”
Cavalryman began his year successfully in Dubai, with one win and a second placing in the Group 2 Dubai Gold Cup (3200m) in which he tracked the leaders before running on in the final 200m, just failing to come home first.
He then won back-to-back Group Two races in Britain including the Goodwood Cup (3218m) before finishing fourth in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3299m) on August 22 to Pale Mimosa. The horse has proven he can be very successful over the two-mile distance of the Melbourne Cup.
“At his last run he was fourth behind Pale Mimosa (Lonsdale Cup) and if she came out she’d be one of the favourites for the Cup,” Williams said.
“It might not have looked a flattering run, but that form is still good enough for the Melbourne Cup.”
Cavalryman is paying $26 in the 2014 Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, which are led by 2014 Caulfield Cup winner Admire Rakti at $4.80.
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