The richest race in the history of the Turf is to be decorated by a fitting showdown. Yesterday the Godolphin manager, Simon Crisford, indicated that Discreet Cat will test both his stamina and his air of invincibility against Invasor in the Emirates Airlines Dubai World Cup on 31 March.
Critics of the Maktoum family should perhaps reflect that their meeting is possible only because both horses ended up in their hands. Each was purchased from very different backgrounds, Invasor from Uruguay and Discreet Cat after winning his maiden at Saratoga, and their convergence gives necessary lustre to a race that has sometimes lacked depth.
As it happens, the two horses did meet last year in the UAE Derby, where Invasor suffered the only defeat of his career, beaten nearly seven lengths. But he showed better form once reaching the United States, above all in the Breeders' Cup Classic - a performance that qualified him as the best thoroughbred in the world last year, according to the official Classification published last week.
The extra furlong represents uncharted territory for Discreet Cat, who has shown freakish speed in a light career. Having sensibly resisted the temptations of the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup, Godolphin finally stepped him into Grade One company at Aqueduct, New York, in November and he coasted home in a lightning time.
The Godolphin Mile would seem a more conservative option on World Cup night but Crisford told visitors to Al Quoz that the idea is to go for the $6m (£3.05m) pot instead. "We've got plenty of options," he said. "But the plan at this time is to prepare him for the Dubai World Cup. He's an incredibly exciting horse to have in the barn. He likes to train very slowly every day and requires very little training, very little work."
Coral responded by making Discreet Cat 11-10 favourite, from Invasor on 13-8. It is 10-1 bar.
Nap: Hobbs Hill
NB: Dragon Slayer