Ed Marnane
3 minute read
1 Nov 2018
10:16 am

Champ Watson saddles strong team at Meydan

Ed Marnane

Claim The Roses and Royston Ffrench appeal in the sixth.

CHAMPION STAKES ENTRIES. Purple Diamond (right) beat Ancestry in the Grade 2 Golden Horseshoe over 1400m at Greyville on Vodacom Durban July day but the two could meet again in the Grade 1 Premiers Champion Stakes over 1600m at the same venue on Sunday 30 July.

Despite failing to saddle a winner, Dubai’s reigning champion trainer Doug Watson made a solid start to the new season at Jebel Ali on Friday, as only two of his seven runners failed to earn a cheque.

He sends a powerful team to Meydan for that venue’s opening fixture of the campaign today, saddling 17 horses with runners in each of the seven races.

In Race 5, the feature race and a 2000m handicap, Watson is well represented and is responsible for four of the 10 runners.

Riding arrangements suggest course specialist Mizbah, back after his summer holiday, is the yard’s main hope, The veteran has the assistance of stable jockey Pat Dobbs and usually goes well returning from a break.

The confirmed front-runner clearly warrants plenty of respect.

But it is a wide-open looking handicap and Mizbah’s stable companion, the unexposed Street Of Dreams, from the foot of the weights, appeals under Sam Hitchco.

He has blossomed since arriving in the UAE, twice winning at Meydan and is open to further improvement.

Last season’s Jebel Ali Stakes (Listed) winner Montsarrat brings a touch of class.

Hailing from a yard among the winners on Friday, he can boast winning form at Meydan and will enjoy the drop in class after contesting a Group 1 on his most recent appearance in March.

He faces a stiff task con-ceding weight to all his rivals but cannot be overlooked as he is unlikely to lack for fitness back in action a er a near eight-month break.

Last year’s winner, the quirky Trinity Force, cannot be ruled out if in a going mood. He lost his way a er scoring 12 months ago, but has slipped in the ratings and has an outside chance at decent odds.

The action gets underway with a 1400m Maiden Plate and four juveniles, all unraced and bred in the USA, have been declared.

Watson’s expensive newcomer Every Single Day, a $135,000 purchase at Keeneland September Yearling Sale last year, has the benefit of a good recent barrier trial, in which she narrowly defeated the reopposing Walking Thunder.

She had another of today’s rivals, Takheet, back in third. Of the others, Luxor Temple, trained by Ali Rashid Al Rayhi, is one to consider.

He showed promise in a barrier trial at Meydan and could give talented Irish rider Ronan Whelan a winner in his first winter stint in the UAE.

Race 3, the second maiden and run over 1400m, is a relatively moderate event, attracting field of exposed and disappointing performers.

Big Brown Bear failed to build on his promising debut behind subsequent Al Bastakiya winner Yulong Warrior last season.

This looks his easiest task in his short career to date and he is fancied to break his maiden status at the fourth time of asking.Sandeep Jadhav and Royston Ffrench combine with Claim The Roses in a 1600m handicap, Race 6.

One of three runners representing the Indian trainer, he makes plenty of appeal in a competitive race.

He was in good heart last winter, winning over today’s course and distance and never running a poor race.

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