Horses To Follow » Cavalryman


Cavalryman ran a huge race for me to finish third behind Sea The Stars in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on Sunday. Fast away from stall 19 on the outside of the entire field, Frankie Dettori allowed him stride on in the early stages so that he could get in close to the rails, and he adopted a position at the front of the main group on the outside of Stacelita through the first couple of furlongs. Still three wide around the home turn, as Dar Re Mi moved out between him and Stacelita, he came under pressure from Dettori as soon as they straightened for home, and he looked sure to be swallowed up as those who had been held up began to close. On the contrary, however, he found lots for pressure, got back past Dar Re Mi and he only surrendered the runner-up spot to Youmzain inside the final 50 yards.

This was impressive. Stall 19 made it almost impossible. While he did manage to adopt a handy position early, he had to use up a fair amount of energy through the first two furlongs to get into that position, and it is difficult to win an Arc from the front rank. Dettori’s hand was forced, however. Had he dropped back instead of going forward in order to get in, his task would almost certainly have been even more difficult. The draw is crucial in the Arc. It is not a coincidence that 14 of the last 16 winners were drawn in stall seven or lower. That is a startling statistic. As well as his draw, the sedate early pace was not in Cavalryman’s favour given how well he stays this 12-furlong trip. A slow pace wasn’t in his favour either when he won the Prix Niel somewhat unimpressively, but he had stayed on really well off a fast pace to land the Grand Prix de Paris over the Arc course and distance on his previous run in July. He has still only run eight times in his life, it is hardly surprising that his Arc run was his best to date, and he is still progressive. It will be interesting to see what Godolphin do with him now. He is still a little under the radar in these parts, perhaps because he has been trained by Andre Fabre and not Saeed Bin Suroor, and he is unlikely to run in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, but he remains of huge interest. He handled the fast ground on Sunday well, but he is probably at his best with a little bit of cut, and he will be an exciting 12-furlong horse for next year.

4th October 2009