Cavalryman (right) romps to Dubai Gold Cup success on World Cup nightPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Cavalryman comes charging to win Gold Cup
Report: UAE, Saturday
Meydan: Dubai Gold Cup Sponsored By Al Tayer Motors (Group 3) 2m, turf, 3yo+ southern hemisphere, 4yo+ northern hemisphere
TWO-MILE races are billed as a test of stamina but it was vastly superior speed that saw Cavalryman pull clear of his rivals with ease, jockey Silvestre de Sousa taking advantage of slow early fractions and pouncing in the home straight to lead home a Godolphin one-two with Ahzeemah in second.
Settled in mid-division, there was no early pace with the Irish-trained pair of Imperial Monarch and Saddler's Rock pulling noticably hard. The latter's saddle slipped and Declan McDonogh took the decision to take up the pacesetting duties to try and settle his mount.
It seemed to work and the pair set nothing more than a steady gallop down the back straight, lifting the tempo slightly approaching the home turn, but the race failed to develop until the field were well into the final bend.
With pace not injected until late on, the race became a dash for the line and De Sousa travelled ominously on the 11-2 shot, who had the pace to finish third in Sea The Star's Arc.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who mentioned the Ascot Gold Cup as one potential target for the winner, said: "We had tried him over the two miles last year and he got the trip well when winning at Sandown [in July] so we were very happy with the horse. The reason I was confident tonight was that the horse has a very good turn of foot."
"Everything went to plan for me," said De Sousa. "It was a bit slow to halfway and I was happy when the pace quickened. My horse travelled well and quickened up nicely. It's a big night but the pressure will come later. At least the horses are running well."
Once pulled out there was only going to be one winner and the pair powered to a comfortable victory from Ahzeemah, who appeared to hamper Saddler's Rock for much of the home straight, while Imperial Monarch, who seems a magnet for trouble, also struggled to find a run when trying to deliver his challenge, the 5-2 favourite eventually finishing sixth, one spot ahead on Saddler's Rock.
"I'm not sure if he saw the trip," said Ryan Moore, who rode Imperial Monarch. "He travelled well enough and had every chance at the top of the straight." McDonogh, whose saddle slipped on Saddler's Rock, added: "I was in trouble most of the way around - it was pretty bad. That was a pity."
It was a clever ride from De Sousa, who sat in a similar position throughout the race to the second and third, the Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Verema, but made his move slightly earlier than his rivals and stole the race with an impressive turn of foot from the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained seven-year-old.
At the World Cup meeting last year Cavalryman contested the Dubai Sheema Classic, finishing seventh behind Cirrus Des Aigles, but a step up in Britain last season resulted in two Listed successes.
The win sees Cavalryman enter the picture for major staying honours this season and raises the possibility of a first Group 1 win since beating subsequent Ascot Gold Cup runner-up Age Of Aquarius in the Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris as a three-year-old, when still trained by Andre Fabre.