Doug Watson may have far greater achievements on his CV than simply saddling Barbecue Eddie but there is no doubt that he is in possession of one of Meydan Racecourse's favourite sons.
Owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, the mount of Dane O'Neill lines up for his 17th start at the UAE's flagship racecourse tonight against eight others in the thoroughbred Conditions contest.
Barbecue Eddie defied all expectations last month when staying home 1,600 metres on his first start since March to win his fifth race at Meydan.
The eight-year-old gelding was hampered in the early stages under Harry Bentley, but was pulled wide by the young jockey to show what could have been had he been allowed to take his place in the Godolphin Mile on World Cup night. Watson had to withdraw Barbecue Eddie from the US$1 million (Dh3.6m) race due to a fever.
"He never runs a bad race on this all-weather surface," the three-time champion trainer said.
Watson has loftier targets than tonight's Hygain Trophy in mind, which thanks to Al Basti Equiworld boasts a purse of Dh110,000. His thinking extends to the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 during the Dubai World Cup Carnival, but for now Watson simply hopes his charge can dispatch his eight rivals under a penalty from stall three.
"He is a horse who has done us proud and he showed last time he stays 1,600m well," he said. "The penalty makes it tough but he should run his usual solid race."
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