04/01/2007 11:00PM

Godolphin: Discreet Cat hindered by infection


Discreet Cat's horrendous effort in the Dubai World Cup on Saturday night was compromised by a throat infection, according to his stable, Godolphin Racing.

In suffering the first loss in an otherwise brilliant career, the 4-year-old Discreet Cat was found on Sunday to have run with a mass of inflamed tissue in his throat plus significant swelling of the underlying throat wall.

Godolphin's veterinarians determined that this caused Discreet Cat's airflow to his lungs to be obstructed as well as causing discomfort. He did no running at all in trailing throughout the 1 1/4-mile race, coming home last of seven, 23 lengths behind the victorious Invasor.

A Godolphin press release stated that Discreet Cat had undergone an endoscopic exam earlier in the week and that no abnormalities were found. He previously missed his World Cup prep on March 1 when he came down with a slight fever. Discreet Cat will continue to undergo treatment in Dubai.

His failure on Saturday was the low point of a disappointing day and winter for Godolphin at Nad Al Sheba. All 11 of the stable's runners on World Cup Night failed to crack the first three, leaving Godolphin with just 3 winners out of 55 tries at the Dubai Racing Carnival.

"We will give Discreet Cat some time out now and then get him back to America," said Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford.

Trainer Saeed bin Suroor envisions a slight change of plans for Discreet Cat.

"It doesn't look like he stays the distance," he said. "We will drop him back to a mile."

Meanwhile, Invasor's connections prepared to send the 2006 Horse of the Year to Belmont Park. Kiaran McLaughlin, who trains Invasor for Hamdan Al Maktoum, envisions a return for Invasor in Belmont's Suburban Handicap on June 30. That was one of the races the 5-year-old Argentine-bred won last year after his return from Dubai, where he suffered the only loss of his career when fourth behind Discreet Cat in the UAE Derby. McLaughlin said that Invasor came out of the World Cup in fine shape and that a second Breeders' Cup Classic will be his ultimate goal this season.

The BC Classic, scheduled for Oct. 27 at Monmouth Park, will be the goal of World Cup runner-up Premium Tap as well. His effort earned him a Timeform rating of 129, just three pounds behind Invasor's 132, and trainer John Kimmel is eager to get him back to Belmont. Pleasant Tap must first spend 60 days in quarantine in Dubai since he had previously been lodged in Saudi Arabia for his new owners, the sons of King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz.

The two other American winners, Kelly's Landing (Golden Shaheen) and Spring at Last (Godolphin Mile), will be given rests after they return to the U.S. Leandro Mora, assistant to trainer Doug O'Neill, said Spring at Last would probably be pointed to the Hollywood Gold Cup on June 30. Spring at Last earned a 122 for his Godolphin Mile score while Kelly's Landing was rated at 118 by Timeform for his win in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, the seventh time in eight years an American has won the straight six-furlong sprint.

Admire Moon, winner of the Dubai Duty Free for Japan, earned a Timeform rating of 126+ for his victory in the 1 1/8-mile, Group 1 race, a performance that prompted his rider, Yutaka Take, to express a desire to ride him in one of the big races in Europe. First up for the 4-year-old Admire Moon, however, will be the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin on April 29 when he is expected to tangle with Hong Kong's big gun, Vengeance of Rain.

The New Zealand-bred Vengeance of Rain won the sixth Group 1 race of his career in taking the Dubai Sheema Classic, but it was his first outside of Hong Kong. Vengeance of Rain's 124+ Timeform rating pales in significance to what his victory means to Hong Kong racing in general. It follows by 10 months the Yasuda Kinen victory of Bullish Luck in Tokyo.

Bullish Luck ran well in his dirt debut to be third, 9 3/4 lengths behind Invasor, in the World Cup and will join countrymate Vengeance of Rain in the Queen Elizabeth.

The most impressive winner visually on Saturday was undoubtedly Asiatic Boy. An Argentine-bred son of Not for Sale, Asiatic Boy quickened clear for a 9 1/2-length rout of the UAE Derby, although it must be noted that he was beating a maiden in runner-up Jack Junior and third-place Adil, a horse who was bred and trained in Saudi Arabia.

Still, there is no denying that Asiatic Boy, who earned a 120 rating from Timeform, has a bright future, but one that will begin in England. He is one of nine horses - among them Irridescence and National Colour - to be sent by South African trainer Mike de Kock to Newmarket, where he will be prepared for the one-mile, Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes against older horses at Royal Ascot on June 19.

UAE Derby runner-up Jack Junior, however, could soon be seen in America. His trainer, Brian Meehan, is thinking of "one of the three Triple Crown races" for Jack Junior, a Songandaprayer colt.