RED STABLES boss Doug Watson sends a fitter and more experienced Rio Angie out for the UAE 1000 Guineas on Thursday with the 3yo Honor Code filly expected to step up her act as she takes on strong opposition in the Listed contest over 1600m on Meydan’s dirt track. Rio Angie debuted in style when winning her maiden by in almost five lengths on 7 November. Thereafter, she ran well when taking third behind Saeed bin Suroor’s Final Song in the 1400m Guineas Trial on 2 January, with Watson admitting his main goal with her was to prep her for this Thursday’s showdown. Watson is confident of seeing more improvement from her as he said: “We’ve had a good two and a half weeks with her, three weeks between races.
“I’m looking forward to running her. I know she will improve, but I don’t know if it’s good enough to turn the tables on the other two fillies. “I think the draw dictates where she’ll be placed early, but she has enough natural speed. We’ll go forward and try to see how the rest of them are doing. We’ll see.” Finishing ahead of the muscular dark bay filly were Final Song, and HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum’s front running Down on Da Bayou, a halfsister to 2016 UAE 1000 Guineas winner Polar River. Both are expected to line up on Thursday, as they all venture 200m farther in the 1600m Classic. Watson coincidentally trained Polar River, so he appears keenly aware of what he is going up against. “Rio Angie trains so effortlessly in the morning,” he said. “Polar River was like that.
She was a good work horse and a good horse on race day. Our other UAE Oaks winner, Rayya, was not a great work horse, but raced very well. Both she and Polar River were lighter fillies, while Rio Angie is strong; more colt looking.” If all goes well on Thursday, the Hamid Radan-owned charge will be on the same road as her aforementioned Watsonconditioned predecessors, the Group 3 UAE Oaks on 20 February, a race each won en route to second place finishes in the Group 2 UAE Derby against males.