The 2014 Melbourne Cup will be the 13th edition of the race with a Godolphin-owned runner and trainer Saeed Bin Suroor is hoping that Willing Foe can deliver him a maiden win in ‘the race that stops nation’.
Godolphin first had a runner in the Melbourne Cup when Faithful Son finished seventh behind Jezabeel in the 1998 edition of the race and they had their first near miss when Central Park finished second behind Rogan Josh in 1999.
Give The Slip looked like he could deliver the global racing operation a Melbourne Cup win in 2001, but he was run down by Ethereal in the final stages of the race before Beekeeper finished third behind Media Puzzle in 2002.
Godolphin did not have a runner in the Melbourne Cup from 2005 to 2008, but returned when Crime Scene finished second behind Shocking in 2009 and have had a runner in the race every year since.
The 2014 Melbourne Cup field will included both Cavalryman and Willing Foe; with Willing Foe set to make his Australian racing debut in the Group 1 event at Flemington on Tuesday.
Willing Foe was initially touted as a Melbourne Cup hopeful in 2012, but Godolphin elected to send only Cavalryman to Australia for the race and the Dynaformer gelding was restricted to just one race start, when he took out the Aston Park Stakes (2656m) at Newbury on May 18, in 2013 due to injury.
The veteran stayer returned to racing with a close second behind Seismos in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2700m) at Newbury on August 16 and he could finish no better than fourth in the Group 1 Irish St Leger (2800m) at Curragh on September 14, but Bin Suroor has been happy with the gelding since he arrived in Australia and is not ruling him out of 2014 Melbourne Cup contention.
“Willing Foe finished fourth in the Irish St Leger, but since then he is a different horse,” Bin Suroor said at the Melbourne Cup barrier draw yesterday.
“I like him a lot and he is going really well.
“You have to be very patient with them and in the past he has had some setbacks.
“He is going really well at the moment and I am really happy with him.
“We have finished second three times, but I hope this year we can have a different result.
“It is a great race, which I have thought for years and years.
“We hope that this time we are in with a chance.”
Willing Foe is currently available at 2014 Melbourne Cup odds of $31, while stablemate Cavalryman is priced at a quote of $26 to deliver Godolphin a maiden win in the $6 million event.