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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Equal Time

- Here's some equal time for the connections of Invasor to rave about their horse. Again, Chris McGrath, reporting from Dubai for the UK's The Independent.

Though acquainted with outstanding horses since his days with Lukas, McLaughlin has never come across a horse quite like Invasor. "I tell Neal and Trish that we've got to soak this up every day, as much as we can, because this horse is once in a lifetime," he said. "He's very unusual in that he never blows at all. He can go a mile and a quarter in the Breeders' Cup Classic and he's cooled out in five minutes. That makes him very special."

The McLaughlin team consider Invasor "twice the horse" he was when only fourth behind Discreet Cat in the UAE Derby last year, both in terms of his physical progress and his self-assurance. "As last year went on, he started getting his confidence up, started to show off," his work rider, Barry Downes, said. "He knows what he's done. He knows he's good. He tries to get away with things. If you're not paying attention, he might just bite you." [The Independent]
And how about some blogspace for Premium Tap?
"My horse is pretty versatile, he won the Clark in big fashion and won very well at Riyadh," said [John Kimmel]. "He's also won at Aqueduct, Belmont, Gulfstream and Saratoga, I don't think he needs a particular racetrack." Kimmel noted that Premium Tap has displayed marked improvement since his third to Invasor in the Breeders' Cup Classic (Gr 1) at Churchill Downs last November by easily winning the Clark Handicap (Gr 1) at the same venue three weeks later.

After being acquired by Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz and his sons, Premium Tap ran a good prep race last month when an easy winner of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup (also known as the King's Cup), in Riyadh last month.

Kimmel said that the race had put him spot on for the Dubai World Cup. []
I think that if you just looked at the race without knowing anything else about the participants other than what's on the paper, you would rate Premium Tap just a notch below the other two, don't you think? He fits right there on Beyers, and finished only 3 1/2 lengths back of Invasor in the Classic after having a little trouble getting started. With a little racing luck, and a continuation of the excellent pattern of improvement that he's shown, and it doesn't seem out of the question that he could be right there.

As for Discreet Cat, we will hopefully find out definitively whether or not he's the freak that many people think he is, and that I think most fans hope he is. Seeing true thoroughbred greatness can transcend many misgivings one might have about its human connections, so yeah, I hope he puts in a dominant performance that we'll always remember, even if we have to watch it on delayed tape.

I think he'll have to be that kind of freak in order to win the World Cup. There's no reason to expect that Invasor won't run an amazing race. He's done so every time he's run since last year's World Cup program, improving with virtually every race, including perhaps his amazing run in the Donn. Discreet Cat has never been a mile and a quarter, hasn't raced since November, missed his prep due to a minor illness, has only had a couple of recorded works, and has an unfavorable post. It's a pretty big leap of faith to back this horse at low odds, in my opinion. Commenter Sean from Wolverhamption is planning to wager most of his monthly salary on Discreet Cat at 6-5; I wish you luck, man, but I believe that Discreet Cat will have to be something akin to the "unicorn sent from God" that you describe in order to pull this off.

- Lava Man is apparently a U.S. phenomenon - virtually no mention of him in the overseas press I've seen. He's apparently doing quite well, and his connections insist that he's handled this trip better than those past. “He does ship well most of the time – but this time he was much, much, much better,” assistant trainer Leandro Mora said. [DRF]


Walter said...

I'm just as big a Discreet Cat fan as anyone, and i must say, he's really up against it here. I don't think distance is an issue at all, except in the terms that he's being asked to run 1 1/4 miles straight off the bench vs. the reigning BC Classic winner and Horse of the Year. There's no disputing that Invasor holds a foundation/conditioning edge here. And there's no disputing he's a horse of the highest caliber. Taking 6/5 (or thereabouts) on Discreet Cat to win this race is a bad wager, no two ways about it. But that's not to suggest Invasor is a good bet either. Taking the same short price in an attempt to beat the best horse in the world (on his home surface) is simply asking for trouble. Particularly after the way Discreet Cat destroyed him last year. In the process, Discreet Cat basically matched the time of the older World Cup runners while under wraps. Surely, Invasor has improved since then, but so has Discreet Cat. Good luck trying to beat him. Ever. If i were going to bet the race, i'd be looking at an exacta box, and that's it. You have a far better chance at them running in together than you do with trying to choose between them. By themselves, i think both horses are terrible value.

Alex said...

Is it safe to say that the winner (assuming its one of the 'big two') will have to be considered the best horse to have raced in America at least since Cigar, and possibly since Spectular Bid?

Anonymous said...

Alex, yes.

Walter, actually you make two pretty good arguments to take a flyer on Premium Tap.

One more negative on Invasor, his perforamance last year in this race. Whethar he needs Lasix, as has been speculated, or did not handle the surface, they can not hide the fact that his only disappointing performace to date came one year ago. As a handicapper, it jumps off the page.

Combined with Discreet Cat's layoffs, I will take a flyer with Premium Tap if the price is right(5-1?).

Short field, try the tri, PT/DC,I/All.

Mr. Ed

Walter said...

I think perhaps i was misunderstood. Although do i consider both horses a bad wager, you can't look elsewhere for the winner. The others are simply overmatched.