Godolphin’s British-based trainer Saeed Bin Suroor is confident veteran stayer Cavalryman can be a competitive force in Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup 2014 field over the two miles.
There are 11 internationals in the 24 horse $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) line-up this year including two for Bin Suroor.
He saddles up Cavalryman from barrier three with Craig Williams to ride as well as Willing Foe who is a James McDonald mount from out wide in barrier 17.
Bin Suroor has four times prepared the Melbourne Cup runner-up, most recently in 2009 when Crime Scene was second past the post behind Mark Kavanagh’s lightweight winner Shocking five years ago.
The team then is desperate to finally go one better in the world’s richest handicap, Halling stallion Cavalryman their best chance paying $21 in the Melbourne Cup odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
“I’m really happy with him,” Bin Suroor said on Saturday evening.
“It is a great race.
“We’ve tried for years and years so we hope this year we have better chance.”
Stable mate Willing Foe meanwhile isn’t far behind in the latest Melbourne Cup betting markets paying $26 to win his Australian debut.
While no European has won the Melbourne Cup first-up without a previous run down under since Vintage Crop (1993), Dynaformer eight-year-old Willing Foe’s form back home has been strong.
Two back he ran a neck away second behind Marco Botti’s 2014 Melbourne Cup hope Seismos, drawn in barrier one on Tuesday and paying $34 to win with Craig Newitt in the saddle, at Newbury in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2700m).
Last time out Willing Foe was fourth when carrying a hefty 62kg behind Brown Panther, sixth behind Fiornete in last year’s Melbourne Cup result, in the Group 1 Irish St Leger (2800m) at The Curragh on September 14.
In the Melbourne Cup Willing Foe drops right back to 55kg and is out to become the first winner from barrier 17 since the gate produced back-to-back champions with What A Nuisance (1985) and At Talaq (1986) in the mid-1980s.
“You have to be very patient with him,” Bin Suroor said of Willing Foe.
Cavalryman meanwhile is out to become the first nine-year-old Melbourne Cup winner in history in his second shot in the prestigious Flemington Race 7.
Two years ago he travelled over to run eight lengths away 12th behind the Robert Hickmott-trained Green Moon, ruled out of this year’s edition due to a cracked hoof.
Since then Cavalryman has been racing very competitively in both Europe and Dubawi including two wins from three starts during his latest campaign.
His most recent win was over the two miles in the Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3218m) on July 31 before he was far from disgraced on August 22 at York when fourth behind Pale Mimosa in the Group 2 Lonsdale Cup (3299m).
The distance on Tuesday then is a non-issue for the evergreen veteran who Bin Suroor’s confidence lies firmly in.
“Cavalryman he won a Group 2 over a mile and a half at Newmarket, this year also the Goodwood Cup at two miles,” Bin Suroor said.
“Two miles will be no problem for him. He won over the same ground and everything so-far so good.
“He travelled well here, he’s doing really good work – he worked yesterday with a light piece of work, he’s doing really well.
“He’s different this year. He runs well when he’s fresh.
“I think with the age also, he’s an eight-year-old (in the northern-hemisphere). He’s doing really well and he’s professional now – he handles travelling really good and races really nicely, always does it in right way.”
To get behind Cavalryman or Willing Foe for an upset Melbourne Cup victory this week make sure you lock them in at the hottest odds online at Ladbrokes.com.au – home of the $3 million Megapick on the major spring race days this carnival!