03/02/2007 12:00AM

Discreet Cat misses his prep


The former U.S.-based runner Terrific Challenge was one of the big winners Thursday at Nad Al Sheba in Dubai in an evening of preps for the Dubai World Cup card that lost much of its interest when Godolphin's unbeaten Cigar Mile winner Discreet Cat was scratched owing to a slightly raised temperature.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor, who finally got his name on the 2007 Dubai Carnival honors board when Mofarij won a one-mile maiden race on the card, said: "Discreet Cat was a bit quiet this morning and we found he had a bit of a temperature. It's a real shame, as he was working well and in good condition. He is much better already, and we are still thinking about running him in the Dubai World Cup, although he has other options on World Cup Night."

The World Cup will be held March 31.

Terrific Challenge, who ended his North American career for Stanley Hough with a fourth-place finish in the Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine in October, stormed down the center of the track to get up late and score by 1 1/4 lengths in the Group 3, $200,000 Marju Mahaab al Shimaal, a prep for the Dubai Golden Shaheen. A 5-year-old son of Royal Academy, Terrific Challenge was making his first start for local trainer Doug Watson, and he covered the straight six furlongs on fast dirt in 1:09.66 under British champion jockey Ryan Moore.

"Ryan gave him a great ride, and it was a good performance given that it was his first start on a straight track," Watson said.

The disappointment in the race was Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Thor's Echo, who was running for the first time since winning the De Francis Dash at Laurel Park in November. He has since been sold to Sheikh Mohammed's son Rashid, and joined the barn of trainer Sateesh Seemar. He finished sixth but was keeping on well at the finish, beaten by only 4o1/2 lengths.

Watson went on to register a double when Boston Lodge won the race Discreet Cat was meant to contest, the Group 3, $200,000 Lahan Burj Nahaar Stakes, a traditional prep for the Godolphin Mile. Ridden by Eddie Ahern, Boston Lodge stopped the clock at 1:35.86 for the mile as he beat the English raider Vortex by three-quarters of a length.

The night's biggest race, the $300,000 Maktoum Challenge-Round 3, a prep for the World Cup, went to the Argentine champion Eu Tambem and trainer Ismail Mohammed. Ridden by the Australian Kerrin McEvoy, Eu Tambem improved his career record to 6 wins from 7 starts when he beat Singing Poet by five lengths in 2:01.53 for the 1 1/4 miles.

Perhaps the biggest success stories of the six weeks of the Carnival so far have been another former Argentine, Asiatic Boy, and the German turf star Quijano. Both landed their third Carnival triumphs on Thursday.

Asiatic Boy, who is now trained in Dubai by the South African Mike de Kock, took the 1 1/8-mile $150,000 Bahri Al Bastakiya by seven lengths from the Japanese visitor Victory Tetsuni in 1:48.27.

De Kock said: "He could be one of the best I have ever trained. He is improving all the time and has so much speed that I could run him in a sprint race."

Already victorious in the UAE 2,000 Guineas, Asiatic Boy is now on course for the $2 million UAE Derby on World Cup Night.

Day Pass, winner of the Nashua Stakes at Aqueduct in November for Kiaran McLaughlin but now with Godolphin, faded to finish fourth.

Quijano, trained by Peter Schiergen and ridden by Andrasch Starke, will take a nine-race winning streak into one of the main turf events on World Cup Night, the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic, after notching a third 1 1/2-mile win in the Group 3, $200,000 Dubai City of Gold Stakes.

He beat another de Kock runner, Oracle West, by 1 1/4 lengths in 2:33.07 on a track rated good. Godolphin's poor form continued here, with Best Alibi a modest sixth and Imperial Stride only 10th.

Finally, the Group 2, $250,000 Haafhd Jebel Hatta Stakes, a turf contest at just under of 1o1/8 miles, went to the locally trained 8-year-old Seihali and jockey Johnny Murtagh. He beat Formal Decree by three-quarters of a length in 1:49.85, with Irridescence third.