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Drunken Sailor, with Kieren Fallon aboard, outlasted the field in the third race at Meydan Racecourse.
Drunken Sailor, with Kieren Fallon aboard, outlasted the field in the third race at Meydan Racecourse.

Presvis has the speed to defy luck of outside draw

Luca Cumani teams up with Ryan Moore tonight as Presvis goes for glory at the Dubai International Carnival.

Luca Cumani had hoped to ignite his Dubai International Carnival tonight, but racing is a fickle sport and two of the three runners representing the Newmarket trainer at Meydan Racecourse have been handed unfortunate draws.

Cumani, who has sent out three winners at the Carnival in each of the past two years, saddled two runners on the opening night of this year's season but both were given an impossible task.

It is a similar situation for Cumani's horses this evening, with Drunken Sailor drawn in stall 12 in the 15-runner Wheels Trophy (20.35), and the globe-trotting Presvis handed the outside berth in the Group 2 Al Rashidiya.

"We tried to swing into action two weeks ago, but we were drawn 14 of 14 so it was difficult. On a tight course like Meydan there is no hope. It's not much better this time," Cumani said.

For all Cumani lamenting his misfortune, the draw is immaterial for Presvis.

The seven-year-old likes to be held up off a searing pace, and with Ryan Moore on board he has the perfect partner.

The three-times champion British jockey has been victorious on Presvis on five occasions from nine rides. Moore's affinity with his mount becomes all the more remarkable when compared to the record of the four other jockeys who have ridden Presvis - one win in 11 rides.

"Presvis and Ryan Moore always do what they decide to do," Cumani added. "We let them get on with it because they get on so well with each other."

Presvis has won at the Carnival three times, twice at Nad Al Sheba, and once last year at Meydan when slamming a strong field in the Group 2 Jebel Hatta.

Presvis has yet to enter the winners' enclosure since then, but Cumani is hopeful that after tonight's race, his charge can go on to greater things. "He's been off the track since June," the trainer said. "He always needs a run on the back of a lay-off. He'll have one more run on Super Thursday and then hopefully we will go for the Dubai Duty Free."

If Man Of Iron had a poor draw a fortnight ago, the excuse will not wash tonight in the Wheels Trophy for which he is drawn in stall six. The five-year-old was bought by owners Samanda Racing out of Aidan O'Brien's yard in 2009 before the Giant's Causeway chestnut won the Breeders' Cup Marathon.

The horse has not won since, something that is an embarrassment to the Italian. "He's making me look a fool," Cumani said. "I've tried him at different distances, different surfaces and synthetic. I haven't found the key to him. I'm not as good as Aidan, who is a better locksmith."

Cumani races at this year's Carnival on the back of his best season in Britain, in terms of winners, for 13 years. He attributes his success to the input from Keiren Fallon, the jockey with whom he has a gentlemen's agreement, but that modestly masks a tireless approach to his craft.

"Normally I come out from Britain the Saturday before racing. I oversee their last bit of serious work and go home after racing on the Thursday. It's quite special to get away from the British winter for a few days. You might say I am a long-distance commuter."

 

sports@thenational.ae

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