Cavalryman charging home in Arc trial will spur on Godolphin

St Leger and Prix Niel wins mark major revival for Sheikh Mohammed's team
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The Independent Online

Whatever the individual significance of Godolphin's various successes over recent days, the collective benefit in morale and momentum will be unequivocal. That the stable has embraced the need for change is reflected by the fact that its French colours were yesterday carried to success in the Prix Niel by a colt still trained by André Fabre. But Saeed bin Suroor is, meanwhile, reiterating his own competence at the elite level, having freshly enhanced the reputation of his juvenile team at Doncaster, and then saddled two colts to dominate the finish of the Ladbrokes St Leger itself on Saturday.

Godolphin's anonymity in top-class European racing over the past couple of years has stimulated all manner of pathologies. But the stable's recent achievements with new blood suggest that the deficiency may simply have been in raw materials – which is precisely what its managers have been claiming all along. Mastery and Kite Wood, whose duel for the Leger represented belt-and-braces in securing a first British Classic success in five years, were both recruited from other yards. More significantly, perhaps, the two young colts who notably distinguished themselves at the meeting were both by up-and-coming Darley stallions, in Dubawi and Medaglia D'Oro.

Sheikh Mohammed has several other new sires poised to contribute to Godolphin in the years ahead. Of course, the jury remains out on the putative advantages of wintering horses in Dubai. But at least that question can be addressed more clearly, once you know that the horses themselves are up to the job.

The Niel was one of three trials staged in barely an hour over the course and distance of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. It would have been pretty obtuse, of course, to remove Cavalryman from the care of Fabre, whose record of seven Arc wins makes him without peer in the preparation of such a colt. This proved a familiar race of its type, with a small field, a sprint finish and varying degrees of commitment from riders whose justifiable priority was the Arc itself.

With that in mind, the narrow runner-up, Beheshtam, may warrant as much attention as the winner. Christophe Lemaire permitted Frankie Dettori first run on Cavalryman, and confined himself to one crack of the whip. Given his preference for precisely the soft ground that would eliminate Sea The Stars from the Arc, Beheshtam remains one to consider at 20-1 with Sky Bet.

Cavalryman himself is down to 7-1 in places, and 10-1 with Ladbrokes and Totesport. "The pace wasn't very strong and he was too relaxed early," Dettori said. "He was half-asleep. The race turned into a two-furlong sprint, but he picked up well when I asked him. André has left plenty to work on. He has been adamant all along that this was just a prep race. If there's a man to train an Arc winner, then that's André."

For now, however, Sea The Stars bestrides the market like the colossus he is. Totesport now have him down to 4-5 "with a run" – and Coral go 6-4 – after Stacelita required the complicity of the stewards in preserving her immaculate record in the Prix Vermeille.

Albeit she was entitled to need the run after her summer break, Stacelita showed none of the verve that had previously caused her to be likened to Zarkava, winner of both this race and the Arc last year. On the day she was palpably beaten on merit by Dar Re Mi, who had finished second to Zarkava 12 months previously and had already invited unflattering comparisons with this year's crop of Classic fillies by beating Sariska at York. The best price against Stacelita now is 10-1 with Coral.

Certainly, the interference caused by Jimmy Fortune was so marginal that his mount's relegation to fifth made the local rules seem ludicrously fastidious. But then Sir Michael Stoute offered a similar judgement of the prohibition from home soil of Spanish Moon, who made all under a fine ride from Ryan Moore in the Prix Foy, comfortably holding a laboured challenge from Vision D'Etat.

Past misconduct at the stalls means that Spanish Moon remains banned from British racing until November – a situation his trainer described as "ridiculous". Either way, Stoute would seem to have a stronger candidate for the Arc in Conduit.

Turf account: Chris McGrath

Nap

Jordaura (4.00 Leicester)

Evidently needed the run on his return from a break when well beaten at Kempton last month, as he finished best of all to share a photo finish at Bath last week. Still unexposed, he now looks ready to build on earlier promise.



Next best

Fremen (3.50 Musselburgh)

This veteran farms races at this level – has already won three claimers or sellers this season – and his chief rival at the weights today looks a suspect stayer.



One to watch

Rasaman (J S Goldie) has quickly been revived by a change of stable, shaping well in both the sprints he contested at Doncaster last week – a close second on Wednesday, and trapped in traffic when poised to pounce the next day.



Where the money's going

Mac Gille Eoin is 20-1 from 28-1 with the sponsors for the William Hill Ayr Gold Cup on Saturday.

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