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Sunday, March 26, 2006

Discreet Cat

- Discreet Cat could give this Derby season a real shot of pizzazz based on his spectacular win in the UAE Derby in only his third lifetime start. Barbaro is the only undefeated contender currently based in the U.S., but his wins have come on the turf and on a saturated dirt track. Discreet Cat has won all three of races spectacularly, showing speed as well as professionalism that belies his inexperience and youth (he’s a May foal). He rated kindly, exploded past the field when asked, and was all business as he never looked back, running straight and true to the wire. Walter, in the comments section, compared the final time to that of the World Cup and came up with a favorable comparison. Remember, he beat four-year olds too, as the race was open to Southern Hemisphere three-year olds. Fourth place finisher Invasor was foaled the previous August, and was previously undefeated, having won the Triple Crown in Uruguay.

It seemed strange to see Godolphin’s Simon Crisford question Discreet Cat's distance ability prior to the race, going so far as to say that “he may turn out to be a miler or a seven-furlong horse.” It’s hard to believe that Godolphin would purchase a colt off a maiden win at Saratoga if they had the least bit of doubt about his distance ability. If Crisford really had doubt, it certainly wasn’t based on his pedigree. He’s by Forestry, and Godolphin was almost willing to pay $16 million for one of those recently; they wouldn’t do that if they had doubts about him as a classic sire. Whatsmore, Discreet Cat is out of Pretty Discreet, who won the mile and a quarter Grade 1 Alabama; and his second dam is a half sister to Buryyourbelief, who won the Kentucky Oaks. His broodmare sire, Private Account, won the G1 Widener at ten furlongs. He’s inbred to Ribot and Buckpasser, and has a 2.67 dosage index.

Now the waiting game begins to see if he’s coming for the big day, even as, as reported by Walter, the UK books have installed him as the Derby favorite! Prior to the race, Crisford had said that he would have to “win and win well,” and added that “His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai will decide his next destination.” [Khaleej Times Online] That was quite a mouthful; do you think he'd mind if I just call him Al?
Crisford himself was still giving mixed signals.

"We have to decide which way to go now. He might not be a horse to backup too quickly and we need to decide if he is ready for Kentucky.

"He is still quite an immature colt but I think this race will have done him a lot of good." [Sporting Life]
On the World Cup telecast, Crisford even mentioned the Blue Grass as a possibility, though that seems to really contradict the prior caution he had expressed. The Blue Grass would be his third race in six weeks, and the Derby would be his 4th in two months. Perhaps a more cautious approach, as recommended by Chris McGrath of the UK’s Independent Online, would be more sensible:
This race [the Derby], above all others, could wreck this colt as soon as make him. It presents a savage test of stamina and maturity, and Discreet Cat has not come off the bridle in three starts. His physique remains adolescent. As a May foal, walking behind the beefy Chilean runner in the parade ring, he looked positively delicate. With that rival failing to run his race, moreover, the strict form is only a foundation.

Discreet Cat has as much charisma as any horse in the stable since Dubai Millennium, but if he does stay 10 furlongs at the top level then it would be kindest to postpone his first trip to Churchill Downs to November, for the Breeders' Cup Classic. On the way he could pick off exhausted Triple Crown horses in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga, and he could even start off in its second leg, the Preakness Stakes - over a shorter trip, just a fortnight after the Derby principals have slugged it out in Louisville.

But it is hard to see his owner favouring prudence and caution over adventure and ambition. As a true horseman, he will abide with the stable's dictum to see how Discreet Cat has taken his race before making any decisions. As a sportsman, however, he has probably made up his mind already. [Independent Online]
- Great effort by The Tin Man in the Dubai Duty Free, but the dominanat winner David Junior is an emerging star, and trainer Brian Meehan said, "He's the best I've seen for a while and the Breeders' Cup Classic will hopefully be his main target for this year." [AP] David Junior is a Florida-bred; he’s by Pleasant Tap out of an Irish River mare who is a sibling to two stars; a half to Wild Event and a full-sister to Paradise Creek. Whatsmore, his second dam is a half-sister to turf champion and top sire Theatrical.

9 Comments:

Walter said...

...Crisford does appear to be talking out of both sides of his mouth...check out the following quote...

"We might go early for a prep like the Blue Grass Stakes or go there with just the two runs this season under his belt," he said. "Or we might miss it altogether and go for the Preakness."

...way to narrow it down there, Simon...i've gotta say, i've been following Crisford and the Godolphin crew for some time now, and they're pretty hard to pin down on anything...they believe in keeping their options open, and honestly, i can't say i blame them...but they almost seem to be going out of their way to deceive people about this particular colt...what was with those pre-race comments???...obviously they knew what they had...as Randy Moss said on the ABC telecast, "obviously they were sandbagging"...my guess is they know EXACTLY what they're gonna do, they're just waiting around to make sure the horse is okay and all is still well in two weeks or a month (don't forget what happened to Blues and Royals last year)...i doubt we'll have anything confirmed for quite a while...be assured though, Godolphin KNOWS that their horse is being quoted as the favorite with the European bookmaking firms (rightly or wrongly), and i believe Godolphin will be hard-pressed to pass the Kentucky Derby with a colt who's considered "the favorite"...i mean, they've been aiming at this race for a long time, right?...unless something bad happens (God Forbid), i think Discreet Cat a go...

alan said...

Didn't see the ABC telecast, but glad to hear that Moss called them on that. As long as he comes out of the race OK, I agree that his next race will be on May 6. Can't imagine they'll run him in the Blue Grass too...the spacing wouldn't even make sense if they were intending to skip the Derby for the Preakness.

Walter said...

GODOLPHIN ISSUE CAT WARNING

Godolphin have warned punters to hold their bets on Discreet Cat in the Kentucky Derby. The 3yo powered to an impressive 6-length win in the UAE Derby at Nad Al Sheba last Saturday, prompting William Hill to make him their 5/1 joint favourite for the Kentucky event. However, racing manager Simon Crisford is keen to underline the Forestry colt will not be rushed in order to make the Grade One contest. He told the Racing Post: "Punters would be extremely wise to wait before backing Discreet Cat for the Kentucky Derby. We've alreday decided he won't run in the Blue Grass Stakes or any other American Classic trial and the early thoughts in our camp are that he'll either go for the Kentucky Derby without another run or the Preakness without another run. We're very much aware that he's not even three yet as he's a May 1 foal and he's very young and still immature. For the moment, we'll just monitor his training and then Sheikh Mohammed will make his decision."

Anonymous said...

My Guess, they come and he looks good turning for home and finishes out of the Money!! byanose

P.S. However, I still have egg on my face from Saturday morning.


Byanose

Walter said...

...this just in...Discreet Cat received a Timeform Rating of 119+ for his win on Saturday...Electrocutionist received a 127, btw...

alan said...

Thanks for the update, Walter. Using the rule of thumb, that Timeform would put him right in the mix...at the very least.

Anonymous said...

With their rule of thumb-a beyer of 107. Just lacks seasoning. You mentioned Barbaro as the only undefeated contender. How about Strong Contender and Showing Up. I like both of them but they are in Discreet cat's unexperienced boat! Walter, or any pedigree expert, do you have an opinion on Jack Vanberg's horse-Film Fortune? Thought he ran an admirable race in the Rebel and am looking at him hitting the board in the Ark. Derby at a nice price. Any Comments -Byanose

alan said...

Oops, I stand corrected on Strong Contender, and on Showing Up if you insist on him being a legit contender. As much as I'm intrigued by Strong Contender, he's still only had two starts and hasn't run around two turns! I know that's only one less race than Discreet Cat, but DC has at least run in a stakes race.

Anonymous said...

We'll find out in the Wood. It is looking like both will be there. Both appear talented and Very Very inexperienced. They are the types who receive lot of hype and fade badly at churchill. But since corinthian is out, I have to find a horse somewhere. Have my doubts about brother derrick and lawyer ron. Hoping for a good run somewhere from point determined which is the future's horse I played. Byanose