03/26/2010 12:00AM

Presvis will be running late in Duty Free


DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Presvis may not be a familiar name in the United States, but the consistency he has shown in Europe and both sides of Asia in the last year is phenomenal.

The 6-year-old gelding has won stakes in Dubai and Hong Kong and placed in stakes in England, Hong Kong, and Dubai. He has finished in the first three in his last 13 starts.

Rightfully, Presvis is favored to win Saturday's $5 million Dubai Duty Free at Meydan Racecourse, a race in which he was second last year. Trained in England by Luca Cumani, Presvis is part of a 16-horse field in the Group 1 Duty Free, which is run over about 1 1/8 miles on turf, or 1,800 meters.



At Meydan, such a race is run around one-turn, which will help Presvis. But he is not favorably drawn in post 15, a factor that Cumani downplayed.

"Presvis is a slow starter, so it doesn't really matter," Cumani said. "He'll miss the start and settle in behind the field."

Presvis's late rally has proven successful in races such as the $1.8 million Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Hong Kong last April and the Group 2 Jebel Hatta Stakes here March 4. The latter race convinced Cumani to point to the Duty Free with Presvis, who cost approximately $50,000 as a yearling and has won 6 of 16 starts and $3,249,589.

The horses attempting to hold off Presvis include four runners who have excelled in the United States in the last year - Courageous Cat, Justenuffhumor, Take the Points, and The Usual Q.T.

The field also includes the 4-year-old filly Lahaleeb, winner of the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine last fall; Confront, who won three stakes last summer and fall for English trainer Michael Stoute; the Australian stakes winner Bankable; and Good Ba Ba, winner of the $2 million Hong Kong Mile last December.

Presvis will be ridden by Christophe Lemaire, a replacement for Ryan Moore, who is booked on Confront.

Courageous Cat, second to Goldikova in the Breeders' Cup Mile last fall, won the Grade 3 Canadian Turf Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 20. Mott is hopeful that Courageous Cat can stalk expected pacesetter The Usual Q.T. in the Duty Free.

"If he's got a target, it would be great," Mott said.

Justenuffhumor, winless in two starts in Dubai this year, won the Bernard Baruch and Fourstardave handicaps at Saratoga last year and was third in the Breeders' Cup Mile.

The Usual Q.T. reeled off four consecutive stakes wins in Southern California last year from October to late December but faltered when ninth in the Sunshine Millions Classic on a synthetic track at Santa Anita on Jan. 30. A return to turf may help the 4-year-old gelding, who is seeking his first graded stakes win against older horses.

"He seems to handle turf a lot better," trainer James Cassidy said.

Take the Points was seventh behind The Usual Q.T. in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby last November. In his lone start of 2010, Take the Points finished first in the Grade 1 Gulfstream Park Turf Handicap but was disqualified and placed fifth for causing interference late. Owner Jack Wolf of Starlight Partners considered Take the Points for Saturday's $10 million Dubai World Cup, but opted for the turf race. Take the Points won two Grade 1 races on turf for 3-year-olds last year.

"I think he's best on this surface and this distance," he said. "This is where he belongs."