Godolphin will have the opportunity to claim the only race missing from global racing bucket-list when Royal Empire contests the 2013 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has won Group 1 races in 12 different countries and taken out the majority of the biggest races all around the world but has famously never been successful in the Melbourne Cup despite bringing horses to Australia for ‘the race that stops a nation’ for almost two decades.
The global racing juggernaut will be represented in the 2013 edition of the Melbourne Cup by Royal Empire who beat runner-up Red Cadeaux and stablemate Lost In The Moment in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2670m) at Newbury in August before finishing second in both the Group 3 September Stakes (2414m) and the Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes (2414m).
Royal Empire has only one Group 3 victory to his name and will be making his debut at Group 1 level in the 2013 Melbourne Cup but trainer Saeed Bin Suroor has a big opinion of the Teofilo entire and is confident that he will perform strongly next Tuesday.
“For this race you need a horse with speed and class and he is improving all the time,” Bin Suroor said.
“He has a big heart, he fights out all his races and two miles won’t be a problem.
“He looks fresh and healthy and has no problems.”
Bin Suroor admits that Royal Empire lacks the class of Central Park (second behind Rogan Josh in the 1999 Melbourne Cup), Mamool (last in 2003 and seventh in 2004) and Cavalryman (12th behind Green Moon in last year’s race), who were all winners at Group 1 level in Europe, but is hopeful Royal Empire may find the luck that deserted some of their higher-profile runners in Australia.
“We have brought some nice horses but we didn’t have good luck with them,” Bin Suroor said.
“They were injured and we have finished second a couple of times.
“He is a class hose that’s improving all the time and I think that he can run a big race.”
Royal Empire will be ridden by Kerrin McEvoy who won the 2000 Melbourne Cup on Brew but has not tasted success on Godolphin entries Beekeeper (third in 2002), Razkalla (ninth in 2004), Crime Scene (second in 2009), Campanologist (16th in 2010) and Modun (last in 2011).