Godolphin stayer Royal Empire will run in the Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot on Saturday before entering quarantine ahead of his trip to Australia for the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor has been delighted with the form of Royal Empire this preparation and confirmed that Teofilo entire will make the journey to Melbourne for the 2013 edition of ‘the race that stops a nation’.
“Royal Empire has been doing well and he has improved physically with every race,” Bin Suroor told Racing Victoria.
“We have always liked him and he has done well this season.
“He has run well over this sort of trip the last twice and we are looking forward to running him.
“The plan is to run him this weekend and then ship him to Australia, where the two miles of the Melbourne Cup should suit him well.”
Based on Royal Empire’s form this season he will be very competitive in the Melbourne Cup and he has form around some horses that have previously had success in Australia.
The four-year-old started his preparation with a comfortable win in the Listed Steventon Stakes (2017) before beating 2011 Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux and stablemate Lost In The Moment, who has come to Australia for the past two Spring Racing Carnivals, in the Group 3 Geoffrey Freer Stakes (2670m) – the race that was won by Luca Cumani-trained Mount Athos last year before he finished fifth in the Melbourne Cup.
Royal Empire had his winning streak ended in the Group 3 September Stakes (2414m) but was far from disgraced; battling on bravely in the final stages on the race after being taken to the lead with over 400 metres left to run.
Godolphin may have two runners in the Melbourne Cup; with Bin Suroor revealing that Irish St Leger runner-up Ahzeemah is a chance to join Royal Empire on the plane to Australia.
“It is looking like Royal Empire will go but whether we have one or two runners and whether Ahzeemah also travels we don’t yet know.”
Ahzeemah (54.5kg) is assured of a start in the Melbourne Cup, if he is brought to Australia, but Royal Empire is currently sitting 28th in the order of entry and will need four horses above him to withdraw in order to earn a start in the race.
Godolphin is chasing their first ever win in the Melbourne Cup after finishing in the placings with Central Park (1999), Give The Slip (2001), Beekeeper (2002) and Crime Scene (2009).