- 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."And how about some blogspace for Premium Tap?
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]
"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.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.
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. [Gulfnews.com]
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]