Imperial Monarch is perhaps Aidan O’Brien’s most interesting runner of his five-strong Meydan team as he bids to prove his stamina in the Dubai Gold Cup (1.45).
Winner of the Grand Prix de Paris last summer in just five starts to date, the mount of Ryan Moore now steps up to two miles.
Success in this Group Three event would likely prompt a campaign towards the Ascot Gold Cup.
“His best form last year was over a mile and a half and he’s trying a new trip,” said O’Brien.
“We can’t be sure he’ll get the distance so we’ll have to see how he goes. It is a bit of an experiment and, if he does stay, it will open up lots more options for him.”
Moore seems confident, and told his Betfair column: “Imperial Monarch may have a bit to prove against the likes of a peak-form Saddler’s Rock or Cavalryman, but I think this lightly-raced colt has the potential to go close in this and probably has a favourite’s chance.
“I’ll be honest and say that he was slightly disappointing when I rode him in the International at Woodbine in October – we expected a bit more there – but I wouldn’t be in a rush to judge him on that run.
“He had previously shown tons of talent, meeting all the trouble going in a carnage of a French Derby before winning another messy race in the Grand Prix de Paris.
“I don’t think the step up to two miles will be a problem, and he seems to have a lot more scope for improvement than a few in here. If he handles the quick surface, then he has a lot going for him.
“Of the others, there could be more to come from Tenenbaum, but Imperial Monarch is probably my best chance of the night.”
There are no stamina doubts for the Goodwood and Doncaster Cup winner Saddler’s Rock, who clearly needed his Meydan prep run a month ago.
“We were pleased enough with his run and he is a lot fitter now,” said trainer John Oxx.
“He should run well and has form on all kinds of ground so underfoot conditions should be fine.”
Godolphin, who are always strong in the staying division, field three decent contenders.
Old stager Cavalryman was third in his warm-up while Tenenbaum looks an interesting recruit from the stable’s French arm.
He was fourth to their other runner, Ahzeemah, in a Group Three on March 2.
Racing manager Simon Crisford told www.godolphin.com: “We all know about Cavalryman. He will run a good honest race and two miles suits him well.
“He performed well in his races last year because he was running against slower horses. He is in good form.
“(Tenenbaum) will probably be our preferred choice here. He was arguably a bit unlucky with his first run in Dubai. The pace was very slow and he had to come from a long way back.
“(Ahzheemah) is tough and honest. He stays well – two miles is a new trip for him but he gives every indication that it will play to his strengths. I just wonder if he has reached his level.”
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