The usually reserved Simon Crisford, racing manager for the Maktoum family’s Godolphin stable, did not even try to contain his enthusiasm as he watched Discreet Cat gallop easily across the Al Quoz training track in Dubai Thursday morning.
“He’s an incredibly exciting horse to have in the barn,” Crisford told dozens of delegates from the 31st Asian Racing Conference and others who attended an open house at the Godolphin complex. Just how exciting is made clear by the fact that Godolphin has nominated the versatile colt in three races on the March 31 Dubai World Cup program.
“We’ve got plenty of options,” Crisford said, relating that in addition to the $6 million World Cup at 2,000 meters, the son of Forestry also has been made eligible for the $2 million Dubai Golden Shaheen (UAE-I), a sprint over 1,200 meters, and the $1-million Godolphin Mile (UAE-II). “But the plan at the moment is to prepare him for the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I).”
As Crisford was talking, Discreet Cat was sauntering across the track, totally unconcerned about the people who were staring at him or the flamingoes that were taking flight from an infield pond. His muscles rippling and his bay coat gleaming in the early morning desert sun, Discreet Cat demonstrated the fact that he has settled into Dubai very well following his shipment from Florida late last month.
The composed and serene nature he displayed is just another dimension of his versatility.
“He likes to train very slowly every day,” Crisford said. “He requires very little training and very little work.”
The open house marked the first time that the undefeated Discreet Cat has appeared at a public session this year as well as the international unveiling of the new Tapeta synthetic track surface at Al Quoz. Michael Dickinson, the Maryland-based trainer who invented Tapeta and marketed it during the Asian Racing Conference, was on hand to observe the demonstration to racing leaders from many countries.
Crisford said Godolphin officials and riders are very pleased with the surface, which he said is forgiving on the horses’ front legs and offers stability to their hind ends, and the new track’s banked turns, which allow horses to change leads easily. With American racetracks switching to synthetic surfaces, the new Tapeta training track allows Godolphin to develop more possible runners for American racing than in the past, he noted.
Also on display during the open house was grade III winner Day Pass, trained last year by Kiaran McLaughlin in New York. Crisford said the gray son of Five Star Day would be aimed at the United Arab Emirates Derby (UAE-gr.II), the race that launched Discreet Cat to international acclaim a year ago.