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Cavalryman won the Dubai Gold Cup race at the Meydan Racecourse earlier this year. Razan Alzayani / The National
Cavalryman won the Dubai Gold Cup race at the Meydan Racecourse earlier this year. Razan Alzayani / The National

Cavalryman to lead charge for Godolphin in Yorkshire Cup

Jockey Silvestre De Sousa has high hopes for seven-year-old Cavalryman after Secret Number falls flat in England, writes Geoffrey Riddle.

York, England// Godolphin were out of luck on the Knavesmire on Thursday, but the Dubai-based organisation will roll the dice again today when Cavalryman attempts to augment his success on Dubai World Cup night with a win in the Yorkshire Cup.

Secret Number could finish only sixth to shock winner Libertarian in the Dante Stakes on Thursday, but as is Godolphin's style, the cup is half full and the resources at trainer Saeed Bin Suroor's disposal have resulted in the Dubai Gold Cup winner taking on eight others in the Group 2 feature over 14 furlongs.

Cavalryman could barely have been more impressive when galloping away with the Dubai Gold Cup in March. He forged three lengths clear of stablemate Ahzeemah in the short straight at Meydan Racecourse to win what amounted to be a sprint finish off a slow pace.

He will face totally different conditions here, but such is the versatility of the Darley home bred that York's long straight, which suits long striding types, is well within the seven-year-old's compass.

It would be fair to say that Cavalryman is a late bloomer. The precocity of his third-place finish behind Sea The Stars in the 2009 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe was all but forgotten in the ensuing years as he lost his way.

Last season, he turned a corner and won a Listed event here before taking a similar race just over a month later. It was in Dubai, however, that he really found his feet and his effort in the Group 2 Dubai City Of Gold in March signalled that the real Cavalryman had returned. Such is the horse's form at home that Godolphin are pondering whether to run Cavalryman next month in the Ascot Gold Cup alongside last year's winner, Colour Vision.

"He seems to be getting more sensible with age," Silvestre De Sousa, who will be in the saddle, said. "He is a very uncomplicated horse. We have to see how he does here. If he comes out and wins, then we'll see, but he'd be a contender."

With the English Derby at Epsom only two weeks away, the Newmarket stables of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, are once again without a candidate.

Secret Number had no answer to Libertarian's late flourish under William Buick as first Jim Bolger's Trading Leather, and then Aidan O'Brien's Indian Chief, cracked under the pressure.

Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid's Ghurair was fourth, while Shiekh Hamdan bin Mohammed's Windhoek was fifth.

"He just wasn't good enough," De Sousa said of Secret Number. "He travelled well and quickened up, but didn't have the gears to go with them. He was OK on his first start on turf, but just ran a bit flat."

For Epsom, Godolphin now rely on Dawn Approach, who makes a formidable middle-distance trio for Bolger, who also trains Loch Garman, who was second in the Irish Derby Trial on Sunday.

"I am thrilled with my three top horses," the Irishman said. "I think the only Derby trials that matter were run at Coolcullen [Bolger's base] and I am ecstatic with those."


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