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Exciting Carnival Times at Red Stables

11/01/2018
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Featured in these pages after reaching the milestone of 500 winners in November when his background was discussed in detail, UAE Champion Trainer, Doug Watson, was the leading handler at the 2016 Dubai World Cup Carnival and is looking forward to the 2018 renewal. His 2017 carnival campaign included the victory of Second Summer in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile on the Dubai World Cup card, 12 months after he saddled an amazing 1-2-3 in the same race. Second Summer is back this season and will be campaigned with the $10 million Dubai World Cup in mind, as will Candy Boy, not seen since pulled up on his sole start last season, in December 2016.

Watson said: “Second Summer needed his first run back and we are very pleased with him but decided to await the second leg of the Maktoum Challenge. “We really do feel he is a 2000m horse and the World Cup is the aim. “Candy Boy is back in full training and has done a couple of nice pieces of work. “We will probably wait for Super Saturday and the final leg of the Maktoum Challenge.” Potential Classic contenders are headed by Rayya who could not have been more impressive winning her sole career start to date, a 1400m Meydan maiden in December and new recruits, Blue Laureate and Picture No Sound.

“She is a very nice filly and one who excites us,” said Watson. “The UAE 1000 Guineas and Oaks are, hopefully, the races for her. “Picture No Sound and Blue Laureate have not been here long but have pleased us in everything they have done so far.” Kimbear is clearly a horse the trainer is looking forward to campaigning and the trainer continued: “We hope Kimbear is a World Cup night horse, be it the Golden Shaheen or the Godolphin Mile. “We could not be happier with him and, hopefully, he is very much one to keep an eye out for. “Waady is another new horse we are delighted to have in the yard; he is a very nice sprinter Sheikh Hamdan has kindly sent to us.

“He will run on Thursday when he should run well but we also expect him to improve for the outing.” Among his other runners on Thursday is the exciting Cosmo Charlie who takes his chance in the opening night’s Thoroughbred feature, the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R2. Winner of the 1900m Listed Al Bastakiya, the middle leg of the UAE Triple Crown, last year, he returned this season with a convincing win in a conditions race over the same 1600m as Thursday’s assignment. He was then fourth in the Listed Dubai Creek Mile, also over the same trip, when things did not fall into place.

“He was not himself that night; he is not the most straightforward and can be a bit nervous at times,” said Watson. “He was tricky to saddle that evening which was a concern and he did not run his race. “He is better than that and has a chance to prove it on Thursday. His work is good and he seems in great shape.” My Catch was in action on the same card, attempting to defend his crown in the 1200m Listed Garhoud Sprint. On his first start since World Cup night, and only second after he won that Garhoud Sprint in 2016, he was a pleasing third. Watson said: “He ran well enough first time back and will be a lot sharper for that run.

He is a good sprinter and can hopefully have a productive campaign.” It was a similar story with Storm Belt, also on the same night, who was fifth in The Entisar, having won the race in 2016. This year it went to stablemate Etijaah, owned by Sheikh Hamdan. “Etijaah benefitted from his first run and step up in trip to his favoured conditions. He is a solid performer as we saw last year when he won the Curlin Handicap. “Storm Belt is a 9yo now and just takes a bit more to get him fit. Hopefully we have him spot on now.” Also owned by Sheikh Hamdan is Basateen, among the runners in the 2410m turf handicap this week having run very well, when badly hampered over an inadequate 1600m trip, in the National Day Cup at Abu Dhabi.

“That was a very good run at Abu Dhabi and we have had a clean preparation with him this season which we did not last time,” said Watson. “If he was not stopped on the rail he would have finished a lot closer and Thursday’s trip will suit him much better.” Mohd Khalifa Al Basti remains the UAE’s leading Thoroughbred owner this season, with 11 winners, one more than Sheikh Hamdan and has a few Carnival prospects among Watson’s equine arsenal at Red Stables. Among them are Stunned, third on both his starts this season, and Desert Force, who has run just once when in need of the outing in the aforementioned Garhoud Sprint.

“There is a 1400m handicap in two weeks for Desert Force and we will probably try Stunned on turf, said Watson. “Both are in top form and should be competitive.” Another on duty this week is the progressive Active Spirit, owned by EERC (Emirates Entertainment Racing Club) and taking his chance in a 1900m handicap, alongside Storm Belt and Etijaah. Watson said: “Active Spirit loves it at Meydan and can be very hard to pass once in front. It is great for the syndicate to have a proper Carnival horse.” Drafted was a 1400m Meydan winner last week, doing just enough to secure him a Carnival berth, while El Loco was another member of the new intake to receive a positive bulletin.

With the increasingly strong local challenge from the likes of Satish Seemar, combined with the might of Godolphin and the international contingent, all waiting, Watson at least appears to have a very strong squad with which to go to war.

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11 Jun 2018
Issue Number: Issue 645
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