Craig Williams has been booked to ride Cavalryman in the 2014 Melbourne Cup and the leading hoop was thrilled with the feel that he got from the Godolphin stable during trackwork at the Werribee International Equine Centre yesterday.
Cavalryman was given a testing 1600 metre gallop yesterday with Williams in the saddle and he worked home strongly to run his final 800 metres in just over 49 seconds and his last 400 metres in 24 and a half seconds.
Williams told TVN that he was happy to be able to get an insight into Cavalryman before he rides him in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 4 and he is confident that the veteran stable is a genuine contender in what he believes is a very open edition of the ‘race that stops a nation’.
“It is a very even year,” Williams said.
“He’s healthy, he’s well and he’s very alert.
“He doesn’t have any ping or acceleration, but the further I went the more he gave me in the gallop.
“He’s going to be a major player, no doubt.
“He is not coming across as a nine-year-old; he’s in career best form and he hasn’t had the racing that most of our Australian horses have had at nine years of age.
“He has very solid two-mile (3200m).”
Cavalryman will be having his second start in the Melbourne Cup after he finished a credible 12th behind Green Moon in the 2012 edition of the race, but Williams believes that the nine-year-old is taking much better form in this year’s race after taking out the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes (2414m) at Newmarket in July and the Group 2 Goodwood Cup (3218m) on July 31.
Williams said that Cavalryman’s performance in the 2012 Melbourne Cup was much better than it looked to the naked eye and he is thrilled to have the opportunity to ride the leading contender in the Group 1 event next Tuesday.
“Visually it didn’t look that way, but it was on the clock in what was a slowly run Melbourne Cup,” Williams said of Cavalryman in the 2012 Melbourne Cup.
“His form this year is excellent, much better than when he was here two years ago.
“After sitting on him this morning, I’m very happy riding him going into the Cup.”
Cavalryman is currently available at 2014 Melbourne Cup odds of $26 with Ladbrokes Australia.