Cavalryman favourite to repeat Dubai Gold Cup victory
It is unusual for Godolphin to keep an eight-year-old in training but Cavalryman has already paid his way with a comfortable victory at Meydan on 1st March. He started joint-favourite with the Willie Mullins-trained Simenon but always had matters under control and cruised to a five and a half-length victory over Star Empire.
Simenon, second to Estimate in the Ascot Gold Cup last season, was held up in rear by Ryan Moore and made late headway to finish fifth. He was still nearly ten lengths off the winner passing the post and has been lumbered with the worst possible draw on Saturday.
Cavalryman won this race 12 months ago when beating Ahzeemah by three lengths. That run also came off the back of a fine run at Meydan when third to Jakkalberry and he looks the one to beat here.
There seems no obvious reason why Star Empire should reverse the form with Cavalryman. He was also no match for the Godolphin horse when only fourth here last year.
A more dangerous rival could be Ernest Hemingway, trained by Aidan O’Brien. He was highly regarded as a three-year-old but was immature and failed in the Dante Stakes at York.
He looked a much stronger individual last season, beating Royal Diamond at the Curragh and Leopardstown. He was odds-on to complete a hat-trick in the Irish St Leger Trial but could only manage third to the same horse.
His final start came in the Leger when he was sixth to Voleuse De Coeurs. He has been significantly backed this week and is 13-2 from 8-1.
Ed Dunlop’s Joshua Tree should run better than when only sixth behind Prince Bishop over a trip short of his best. He completed a remarkable third victory in the Canadian International at Woodbine in October and was second to Opinion Poll in this race in 2012.
Songcraft was narrowly beaten by Excellent Result here recently and was a good handicap winner in February. Saddler’s Rock and Sheikhzayedroad are other familiar names to punters but both appear to be out of form at present.