Joshua Tree: first start for Ed Dunlop at York on FridayPICTURE: HKJC
Joshua Tree begins with Dunlop in Yorkshire Cup
THE nomadic Joshua Tree is set to begin his career for new connections again at York on Friday when his latest trainer Ed Dunlop starts the six-year-old's season in the Qipco Yorkshire Cup.
In 2010 Joshua Tree was trained by Aidan O'Brien, then in 2011 he joined Ibrahim Saeed Al Malki running in Qatar. Towards the end of 2011 he was in the care of Marco Botti, winning the Grade 1 International Stakes at Woodbine, but has now moved across Newmarket to Dunlop.
Although he has had a spate of different trainers, Joshua Tree's high level of performance has never dipped and he has recorded four victories at Group level.
Dunlop is known for travelling the world to plunder valuable prizes, and it would be no surprise to see Joshua Tree jetting off as the season progresses.
The trainer said: "This is his first run for us. He has a Group 1 penalty but we are pleased with the way he is going. He's had a long break. He had a very successful but long season last year and we thought this was a good starting point."
Favourite for the race is Cavalryman, winner of the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan when last seen, as trainer Saeed Bin Suroor searches for his first winner of the season in Britain.
Suroor said: "Cavalryman ran two very nice races at Meydan and we gave him a little break afterwards. His last piece of work went well and he looks fresh and happy at the moment. He won over this course and distance last year and I am hopeful of another good performance."
There will be testing conditions for the final day of the Dante meeting, with the ground ending up described as soft following 17.5mm of rain on Thursday afternoon.
Assistant clerk of the course Anthea Morshead said: "We have had all seasons in one day - we even had white grass frost first thing. We are anticipating soft ground for tomorrow."
She added: "There is no sign of the ground drying out in the forecast, so I would not think the ground will get any better."
A mostly dry and cloudy day is forecast, with some patchy drizzle.