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Duty Free: Presvis in focus
by Geir Stabell / Globeform
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Last year he was a clear favourite for the Dubai Duty Free (G1) but beaten by no fewer than ten of his rivals after a troubled trip from a wide draw.

Two years ago he also had a wide draw in the Duty Free, but managed second. This year, the connections of Presvis will be hoping for a more favourable starting point in the big turf race. Judged on his two good runs at the Carnival, this battle-hardened gelding, now seven, is just as good as ever. He certainly is a leading contender.

Presvis, beaten more than seven lengths behind Al Shemali on last year's World Cup day, was most impressive in his comeback race at Meydan in January; winning the Al Rashidiyda Sponsored by Gulf News (G2) by 4 lengths after delivering a powerful run from off the pace. He came from last to first, and it was some reappearance, one that even surprised his trainer somewhat. The runner-up, fellow English raider Steele Tango, is not a G1 horse but he is rated on 110 and was in top shape at the time, having won a good handicap at Meydan two weeks earlier.

The Jebel Hatta (G2), one of the vital DWC night trials on Super Thursday and a race Presvis won last year, was again chosen a final prep for Presvis. The race drew a strong field, though his excellent win five weeks earlier meant that Presvis was a hot favourite. He ran really well again, but failed to win. Fellow Newmarket raider Wigmore Hall, like Presvis held up at the back early on, landed the spoils in a close finish, where Godolphin's seasonal debutant Poet's Voice was second and Presvis third. The margins were a neck and a nose. It would come as no surprise to see these three playing leading roles alo in the Duty Free.

Both Presvis's races this year were over 1800 metres (9 furlongs), the same as the Duty Free, a trip that Presvis likes. He stays further and the quicker they go early, the better it suits him. His running style makes him a spectacular horse to watch when it all falls into place, as he is normally right at the back of the field early on and delivers a top class finish to pass horses one by one in the home straight.

That was the recipe for success also when Presvis won the 2010 Jebel Hatta (G2). On that occasion he swooped past the hot favourite Alexandros in the last few strides, to win the race easily by 1 lengths while also conceding 2,5 kg to the runner-up. It was Presvis's first success for nearly a year, as he had gone winless in four starts (though placed in all) since beating the Hong Kong champion Viva Pataca to land the 2009 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (G1) at Sha Tin. Viva Pataca gained revenge as they met again in the 2010 edition of this valuable contest last April. While Presvis had to settle for a respectable fifth place, Viva Pataca won the race. A trip to the Singapore Airlines International Cup (G1) on April 16 followed for Presvis, but again fifth place was all he could manage. He seemed to have lost his edge, as he was beaten by Lizard's Desire, Gloria de Campeao, Al Shemali and Waikato.

Back in England, he was prepared for a crack at the Prince Of Wales's Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot two months later. Going off at 9-1 in the twelve-runner field, Presvis was at the rear from the outset, and never managed to threaten the leaders. He finished ninth, beaten 6 lengths by the winner, Byword. This was all English racing fans saw of him in 2010, as Presvis did not race again until making his first start at Meydan this January.

Sakhee, sire of Presvis, was a world-class performer. He won the Juddmonte International (G1) by 7 lengths in England and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (G1) by 6 lengths in France, before losing by just a nose to Tiznow in the Breeders' Cup Classic (G1) at Belmont Park in New York. He has also sired Sakhee's Secret, a top sprinter in Europe who won the 6-furlong July Cup (G1). Presvis's dam, the Swedish bred Forest Fire, won at up to 1 miles and is a half-sister to Antonio Mariano, a very useful performer both on the flat and over hurdles, and to Pepe Galvez, also a winner over hurdles. Forest Fire is out of Mango Sampaquita, a daughter of Twins Fire, these are two of the best fillies to have raced in Scandinavia over the years.

Last update: 2011-03-04 11:09:02 (First published: 2011-03-04 10:46:27 )

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