02/05/2010 12:00AM

Presvis second in Dubai handicap

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Presvis, as low as 10-1 fourth choice with some British bookmakers for the Dubai World Cup, disappointed in his second start on a synthetic track at Meydan on Friday night, finishing a distant second to Godolphin's listed winner Allybar in a $150,000, 1 1/4-mile handicap.

But the race was a muddled affair, with only three runners led by the outsider Zulu Chief, who crawled along at a painfully slow pace with Presvis four or five lengths behind in third. Ahmed Ajtebi sent Allybar to the front on the turn for home as the pace finally quickened, leaving Presvis and Kieren Fallon flat-footed. The favorite managed second but was 7 1/2 lengths lengths behind Allybar at the line, albeit while spotting the winner 13 pounds. The time for the 10 furlongs was a snail-like 2:14.37.

Absent since finishing third to World Cup second favorite Vision d'Etat in the Hong Kong Cup on Dec. 13, Presvis had won the Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin on April 26 and had been just a head second to Gloria de Campeao in the Singapore Airlines International Cup three weeks later. Runner-up in last year's Dubai Duty Free to the runaway Gladiatorus, he had failed as the 4-5 favorite in his only previous try on synthetics when he ran second by three lengths to the unheralded Tranquil Tiger in the listed Churchill Stakes on the Lingfield Polytrack on Nov. 21. His trainer, Luca Cumani, must now decide whether it is worth sending Presvis to the World Cup or putting him back on turf for the Duty Free. For his next race, however, Presvis will remain on Tapeta for Round 3 of the Maktoum Challenge on March 4.

Soneva displayed no little grit as she held off the late rush of Godolphin's Aspectoflove by a neck to win the Group 3, $200,000 Cape Verdi Stakes for fillies and mares. Fifth in last year's French 1000 Guineas and the winner of Deauville's Group 3 Prix de Lieurey when trained by Yves de Nicolay, Presvis is now with Marco Botti, the trainer of Dubai World Cup hopeful Gitano Hernando. Always well placed under Christophe Soumillon, Soneva, a 4-year-old Cherokee Run filly, led approaching the eighth pole and got the mile on good to firm turf in 1:38.40.- Alan Shuback