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Dubai World Cup

Dubai World Cup: Premium Tap in focus
by Handicappers / Globeform
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Premium Tap - who is racing for Saudia Arabia and the USA, in the Dubai World Cup (G1) on Saturday - improved markedly last autumn, when third to Invasor in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (Gr 1) at Churchill Downs, before winning in the Clark Handicap (Gr 1) in a procession at the same venue three weeks later.

Many horses have suffered the dreaded ’bounce’ after good efforts at the Breeders’ Cup, but Premium Tap actually improved on his Classic run in the Clark, and he surely is a progressive sort – who may improve again. He enjoyed an easy win in his prep in the King's Cup (G1) last month.

He was clearly the best horse going into the Clark, but also shouldering what looked a difficult weight task. Out on the track, it was anything but. Premium Tap raced with great zest throughout, and was never placed worse than third in a strongly run affair. Premium Tap, odds-on favourite and ridden by Kent Desormeaux, made his move two furlongs from the winning post. Once into the straight, he quickened away and within a few strides he held a clear lead. The race was soon in safe keeping, and he continued in full flight to the wire, beating Wild Desert by over seven lengths. He achieved Globeform 128 for this, his career best, win.

Dropping back to 9 furlongs was to his advantage, after the fine effort in the Breeders’ Cup Classic (Gr 1), for which he started 27-1. Nine others were preferred to him in the betting that day. Only two of them ran faster; Invasor, completing a perfect US campaign, and Bernardini, one of the top 3-year-olds of last year. Premium Tap lost his footing a bit as the gates opened but was soon well in touch, racing in fifth early. He was never a threat to the top two but ran on to hold the late charging Giacomo (the 2005 Kentucky Derby winner) by a length for third.

Prior to the Breeders’ Cup, Premium Tap had raced eight times in 2006, won three races and lost on a day he should have won. Having landed the Albert the Great Stakes at Belmont (from Sun King), and progressed to an half-length upset over Second of June in the Woodward Stakes (Gr 1) at Saratoga (via a fifth in the Whitney Handicap (Gr 1)), he was a short priced favourite for the Kentucky Cup Classic (Gr 2) at Turfway Park in September. He was travelling extremely well when clipping heels on the home turn, and lost a lot of ground – but rallied late and came home fifth, just 1 ½ lengths behind Ball Four. That was his prep for the BC Classic and it was frustrating, to say the least, but he did gain some experience.

And Premium Tap comes to Nad Al Sheba with that vital ’experience account’ in good shape. He ran a good prep race when an easy winner of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Cup at King Abdulaziz in Riyadh last month. Having a race under his belt is to his advantage but, although his win in Saudi Arabia was over 12 furlongs, there is still one worry about Premium Tap; will he stay the World Cup trip in a strongly run race? If the race had been over 9 furlongs, one would have to give him a serious chance. On the other hand, over such a trip Discreet Cat would be awfully tough to beat.

If one of the two big favourites fail to shine on the night, Premium Tap, who is such a solid runner, will be there to take full advantage.

Published: 2007-03-27 03:29:52

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