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Dubai: Presvis wants some pace help in Dubai Duty Free
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – If Presvis is to repeat his victory from a year ago in Saturday night’s $5 million Dubai Duty Free at Meydan, he is going to have to improve on the form he has displayed thus far this year.
In two starts at Meydan this winter, Presvis finished fifth in the Group 2 Al Rashidya and ninth in the Group 1 Jebel Hetta, both stepping-stones to the Duty Free.
Trainer Luca Cumani said simply his horse has been compromised by slow paces in both of those races.
“The two races he ran in this year haven’t told us anything,” Cumani said when asked if perhaps age has caught up to the 8-year-old gelding. “The last race, they went 1:18 for the first [six furlongs] . . . that means it’s a crawl and it’s a sprint in the straight, and you can’t sprint from back. I’m hoping they go faster than they did in the prep races.”
Presvis blew out a solid-looking four furlongs over the turf course Wednesday. An official time was not available.
“To look at him, the way he trains he’s the same horse as ever,” Cumani said. “He’s as cranky and difficult as he’s always been.”
Asked if perhaps there is no pressure on him since Presvis did win this race last year, Cumani said, “There’s always pressure. You always want more don’t you? Trainers are like farmers, the crop is never big enough.”
UK bookmaker Coral lists Presvis as 14-1 on its line. Ambitious Dragon, the New Zealand 6-year-old gelding who has won six of eight starts, is listed as the 7-2 favorite.
O’Brien horses hit the track
Led by probable World Cup favorite So You Think, the six horses trainer Aidan O’Brien sent here from Ireland took to the track for the first time Wednesday morning, shortly after clearing quarantine.
As is customary when O’Brien horses are on the track, the sextet trotted in single file twice the wrong way around the synthetic oval before cantering once around the correct direction.
So You Think, who has not run since finishing sixth in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, was extremely sweaty, though an observer of European racing said that is not unusual for him.
The other members of O’Brien’s team included Breeders’ Cup Turf winner St Nicholas Abbey, who appeared to hold his flesh well, and Wrote, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner, who appeared to have gained significant weight from last year. Wrote is running in the UAE Derby along with Daddy Long Legs, who finished 11th in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
O’Brien is not due in to Dubai until Friday.
Lucky Chappy gets ‘cheeky’
Lucky Chappy, a contender in Saturday’s UAE Derby, gave his connections a few fits Wednesday morning. To listen to trainer Graham Motion tell it, that was just Chappy being “cheeky.”
On the track Wednesday morning for what was supposed to be an in-company leg-stretcher through the lane with Royal Delta, Lucky Chappy unseated exercise rider Alice Clapham as he broke into a gallop near the finish line. Clapham never lost a hold of the reigns, so Lucky Chappy didn’t get loose.
Bill Mott, trainer of Royal Delta who was closer to Lucky Chappy than Motion, gave Clapham a leg up. Lucky Chappy galloped over the Tapeta surface, but started to pull himself up in midstretch, losing his action to the point where he appeared off behind.
Motion said that Lucky Chappy may just have been distracted by the surroundings.
“It’s very intimidating when they come down the stretch, they see the grandstand and they got the great, big screen” in the infield, Motion said. “That’s him just a little naughty; he was being cheeky looking at stuff. That’s kind of his temperament.”
Motion said he was planning to do a little blowout with Lucky Chappy on Wednesday morning. Motion said not doing so won’t impact the colt’s chances Saturday.
“Not really, no,” Motion said. “I would have liked to have done a little bit more. He’s had a couple of good days galloping.”
Motion noted the last time Mott assisted him with a horse was when he helped catch Shared Account, who got loose a few days prior to her upset victory in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
Royal Delta goes slow as well
Without Lucky Chappy to prompt her, Royal Delta went at a little faster than a two-minute clip for the last three furlongs of her gallop. Daily Racing Form timed her in 43.30 seconds, though it was not an official workout.
“We wanted to let her stretch out a little bit,” Mott said. “If the other horse had been there behind her, she probably would have gone a tick faster.”
Though Mott arrived in Dubai a day earlier, Wednesday was the first chance he got to see Royal Delta train over the track.
“She seems to be training over it well,” Mott said.
Regally Ready seeks rebound
Though his connections still don’t know what went awry in the Meydan Sprint, Regally Ready will try to bounce back in Saturday’s $1 million Al Quoz.
Regally Ready, last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner, finished 13th of 15 in the Meydan Sprint after failing to make the early lead.
Scott Blasi, assistant trainer to Steve Asmussen, arrived here Tuesday and oversaw Regally Ready’s half-mile breeze in 49.80 seconds Wednesday morning over the turf course.
The Meydan Sprint was run down a straightaway, which is something that was “definitely different for him,” Blasi said. The Al Quoz also is run down a straightaway.
“Our horses are so used to getting on their left lead into a turn,” Blasi said. “It’s just a different ballgame. I am glad that Corey is coming over to ride him.”
Blasi was referring to Corey Nakatani, who was the gelding’s regular rider last year. Frankie Dettori rode Regally Ready in the Meydan Sprint.
“I’m not knocking Frankie, the horse is quirky and I’m glad Corey is coming to ride him, because he knows him so well,” Blasi said.
Barbecue Eddie scratched from Godolphin Mile
Barbecue Eddie was scratched out of the $1 million Godolphin Mile due to a temperature it was announced at Wednesday’s post position draw for the Dubai World Cup.
That reduces the field to 13 runners.
Barbecue Eddie, an 8-year-old gelding, was a multiple graded stakes-placed runner in the United States when based with trainer Brian Koriner in Southern California.
He is now with Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum and is trained by Doug Watson.