Godolphin’s Discreet Cat is the rarest kind of racehorse—an undefeated one.
Yet as the dashing son of Forestry enters the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I), he is not the overwhelming favorite his unblemished record might suggest, and even top Godolphin officials concede that the world’s richest race will be a severe test of his abilities.
“He’s now facing the biggest race of his life,” said Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford. “He has all the hallmarks of a great champion, and we’re very hopeful he can maintain his unbeaten record.”
It is somewhat ironic that Discreet Cat’s top competition is 2006 American Horse of the Year Invasor since 'Cat defeated that rival handily in last year’s UAE Derby (UAE-II).
Much has changed since then. Discreet Cat has raced only three times while Invasor, who previously won the Uruguayan Triple Crown, has reeled off five consecutive grade I victories to establish himself as the world’s top international champion of two continents while bidding for a third land to conquer.
Both horses have grown in stature and matured. In addition to his brilliant turn of foot, which will allow him to set the pace or come from behind like a rocket, as he did in the Derby last year, Discreet Cat has a “fantastic temperament” that allows him to handle any scenario with ease, Crisford said.
“Class is the key word,” he explained, “and he has it in abundance.”
The distance of the Dubai World Cup, 2,000 meters, is the primary question hovering over Discreet Cat. He has never before competed over such a distance and has only raced as far as 1,800 meters once. He proved that the latter distance was well within his scope in last year’s UAE Derby.
Pace will probably determine how Discreet Cat is able to cope, Crisford said.
“The key to this horse’s performance will be how he rates. The first half mile will be just as important as the last half mile,” he said.
Jockey Frankie Dettori will have to make a decision based on how the race is unfolding where to place Discreet Cat and save his energy for the stretch run, particularly considering that both Invasor and two-time American grade I winner Premium Tap are known for the strength of their finishes.
But neither Crisford nor the other members of the Godolphin team are focusing on the other runners. They seem to have complete confidence in Discreet Cat.
“We haven’t been around too many like him,” Crisford said in praise of the 4-year-old colt. “And he’s ready to go.”