Issue 750

11 ISSUE 750 - THURSDAY 20 JANUARY 2022 he added: “We were a bit disappointed with Midnights Sands. He has some kind of breathing issue that’s getting him to stop. “Thegreatcollection did well and is one we’re really looking forward to running in the second leg of the Al Maktoum Challenge. That will really help him, the extra distance and, hopefully, staying out of trouble.” The Al Maktoum Challenge R2 has been s in scheduled for 4 February, a busy night for Watson and one with the potential of being a big one as well. Joining Thegreatcollection in the 1900m Group Two contest could be Everfast, formerly trained by Dale Romans in America, who was second in the 2019 running of the Grade 1 Preakness Stakes at Pimlico. The Take Charge Indy gelding hit the ground running on his UAE debut when comfortably seeing out a 1600m rated conditions affair on 2 December. Prince Eiji is scheduled to contest the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes on that same card. The 6yo Dubawi gelding succumbed by a short head to Bhupat Seemar’s Kafoo on his first UAE run in a conditions event, but is a horse the trainer likes. “Everfast is being pointed towards the second leg. He was second in the 2019 Preakness Stakes over the same trip and he’s come on really well since his win and his owner (Frankie O’Connor) wants to go there so we’ve been meaning to save him for 4 February,” Watson said. “Prince Eiji goes to the Firebreak Stakes. I think Kafoo franked that form very nicely. We were thrilled with his first run. Thrilled and disappointed, but seeing Kafoo come back and run such a great race helped. “Prince Eiji just was a bit leg weary with it being his first start on dirt, but he’s come out of it well and we’re looking forward to the fourth of February.” But before that, the second night of the carnival on Friday will witness Watson dispatching some of his more seasoned names. Canvassed and Al Tariq both vie for the Group 3 Dubawi Stakes, while 2019 Group 2 UAE Derby winner Plus Que Parfait and Lost Eden contest the rated conditions run over 2000m. Plus Que Parfait has gone winless since clinching the UAE Derby and was fifth on his UAE debut in the Listed Entisar a little over a month ago, while Lost Eden took second behind 2020 Group 3 UAE Oaks winner Down On Da Bayou at Jebel Ali on his Emirates bow. Watson remains hopeful of the quartet and said: “Canvassed and Al Tariq both run in the Dubawi Stakes Canvassed is doing super: real good, so we’re looking forward to having him back out. There’s a few more, but those are the main ones at the moment.” With him having steered back to winning ways there’s definitely a lot to look forward to over the next few months. Missing the mark is definitely and definitively instructive and seven time UAE Champion Trainer Watson picked up plenty of positives too. “Three Meydan meetings without a win is slightly unusual,” said Watson, who was dethroned at the top of the Trainers’ Championship and with 21 wins so far trails leader Seemar by two. “Maybe we didn’t have the right horses, maybe we weren’t in the greatest of form, but the season’s going swingy. Bhupat has had a great run and we’re just trying to get back and try and get them into top form and to finish out the season. “Hopefully, we keep going. We have some nice horses at the stable. We’ve done well here and hopefully we keep winning more and then a few Dubai World Cup Carnival races to add to that will be great.” Canvassed Plus Que Parfait Everfast BY DUANE FONSECA