x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Cavalryman can lead the charge

History favours Godolphin runners and the trainer Saeed bin Suroor is expecting a big race from his horses in Super Thursday's feature contest.

DUBAI // Key clues to the outcome of the world's richest horse race should be revealed tonight. Super Thursday is the second most important night on the Dubai racing calendar and will give an insight into the form of runners and riders ahead of the US$10million (Dh36.7m) Dubai World Cup on March 27.

And all eyes will be on the feature race, the $300,000 Group Two Al Maktoum Challenge Round III, the traditional World Cup prep contest. The last of the three-race series has attracted an international field, yet history favours the home team, Godolphin. Saeed bin Suroor, Godolphin's trainer, has won the mile-and-a-quarter contest eight times. Of those eight, Electrocutionist, Street Cry and Dubai Millennium went on to win the World Cup, so victory tonight will be a big step for any trainer hoping to capture racing's biggest prize.

Bin Suroor saddles Cavalryman, a Group 1 winner in France and third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, and Allybar, the winner of Round II last month. Cavalryman, a UAE debutant, is getting his first run of the season and his trainer said: "He is a very nice horse and one we like a lot. He is training well and should handle the surface, in which case he will run a big race. "Allybar keeps improving and we know conditions suit him."

Pascal Bary's Gloria de Campeao, winner of the first round of the challenge on the opening night of the Carnival bids to book-end his season with Round III before heading for the World Cup.Vodka, Japan's two-time Horse of the Year, also throws her hat into the ring as she makes a first start on Tapeta and is sure to attract attention. Super Thursday marks the first night of a Carnival-ending double-header at Meydan Racecourse which concludes tomorrow with the Meydan Masters, an international jockeys' championship.

There will then be a break from racing at Meydan Racecourse until the Dubai World Cup. @Email:stregoning@thenational.ae