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International flavour shines through after early races on 2013 Dubai World Cup card

March 31, 2013

Cavalryman returned to his best form with a slashing win in the Group 3 Dubai Gold Cup (3200m), ensuring Godolphin remain the only owners to win this race in its short history.

The son of Halling showed an electric turn of foot, coming from the rear of the 10 horse field to defeat Ahzeemah with Verema third.

It was Cavalryman’s first win since a Listed victory at Sandown last July.

He was Godolphin’s sole representative in last year’s Melbourne Cup, but like many he struggled under the muddling tempo and finished 12th to Green Moon.

First up, he finished third to Jakkalberry in the Group 2 Dubai City of Gold (2400m) after racing against his normal pattern.

His victory gave Godolphin their fifth victory in the race from five runnings, having previously won the race with Opinion Poll, Whispering Gallery, Sabotage and Veracity.

First run in 2009 as a preparation race, it was moved to the Dubai World Cup card last year.

However, its first running at this meeting was marred by controversy, after a number of horses died and the race was re-run.

This year’s race did not have the same drama, although the well-supported Saddler’s Rock was given no chance after the saddle slipped shortly after the start.

Cavalryman’s jockey Silvestre de Sousa was elated to record a victory on Dubai World Cup night for Godolphin.

“Everything went to plan for me,” he said.

“It was a bit slow to halfway and I was happy when the pace quickened. My horse traveled well and quickened up nicely.”

“It’s a big night but the pressure will come later. At least our horses are running well.”

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor flagged the Ascot Gold Cup (a4000m) during Royal Ascot as a potential target, while a return to the Melbourne Cup was not ruled out.

Earlier on the card, Soft Falling Rain booked himself a trip to Europe with victory in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile (1600m), becoming the first three year old to win this particular race.

South Africa’s top juvenile last season, he came to Dubai unbeaten from three starts at Turffontein, including success in the Grade 1 SA Nursery (1200m).

He’d remained unbeaten in the United Arab Emirates, winning a 1400m handicap before success in the Group 3 UAE 2000 Guineas (1600m).

The natural progression is to step up to the Group 2 UAE Derby (1900m), but trainer Mike de Kock pulled out a masterstroke in keeping him to the shorter distance.

Despite a wide passage throughout, Soft Falling Rain proved too strong in the final stages, overcoming outsider Haatheq with Godolphin’s Moonwalk In Paris third.

De Kock is looking to aim the son of National Assembly at the Queen Anne Stakes or the Diamond Jubilee Stakes during Royal Ascot.

International targets may be on the agenda for another three year old after Lines of Battle won the Group 2 UAE Derby (1900m) for Aidan O’Brien.

Sitting on pace in a farcically run race, Lines of Battle looked likely to drop out at the turn but managed to stay on strongly to defeat Elleval to complete an Irish quinella.

Godolphin’s Secret Number was the run of the race in third after missing the start significantly.

O’Brien has flagged the Kentucky Derby as a possible target.

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