Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 23 January 2020

Doug Watson well stocked at Meydan's second race meeting of the season

Trainer boasts two entries in the opening race as well as half of the runners in the fifth, but will likely face stiff competition from Bin Harmash

Trainer Doug Watson is confident of his chances at Meydan's opening race on Thursday evening. Chris Whiteoak / The National
Trainer Doug Watson is confident of his chances at Meydan's opening race on Thursday evening. Chris Whiteoak / The National

Five fillies will launch their racing careers in the opening race of Meydan's second meeting of the season on Thursday evening.

Doug Watson is double-handed in the race for the two-year-olds over the 1,400-metre distance. He sends out Rio Angie, the choice of his stable’s first jockey Pat Dobbs, while Sam Hitchcott is set to ride Tapi Sioux.

Rio Angie, in the silks of Hamid Radan, was a $320,000 (Dh1.2m) purchase at the Fasig-Tipton Midlantic Sale in May earlier this year.

Tapi Sioux runs in the silks of Ali Al Aneizi, who also has a second runner, Early Motion trained by Musabah Al Muhairi.

“We like both our two, who have been pleasing us at home and it is a shame we have to run them together, but they are nice fillies,” Watson said.

“Obviously, it is their first racecourse appearance, so a new experience. You do not know the strength of the opposition, but hopefully they can go well.”

Down On Da Bayou, owned by the Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, appears to be an exciting newcomer for trainer Salem bin Ghadayer.

Down On Da Bayou, who is the mount of Royston Ffrench and daughter of Super Saver, was a €190,000 (Dh773,000) purchase at Arqana in May.

The field is completed by Ahmad bin Harmash’s Majhoola, a first runner for owners Imperium Racing and ridden by Connor Beasley.

The six-race card also includes two valuable handicaps, the fourth and fifth races over 1,200m and 2,000m, respectively.

Bin Harmash’s Rodaini, a winner over 1,400m at the Dubai World Cup Carnival in February, head the weights.

However, stable jockey Beasley has opted to ride newcomer Pennsylvania Dutch, who is a winner of five races in 27 careers starts in the UK before arriving in Dubai.

“He is ready for a race,” Bin Harmash said of Pennsylvania Dutch. “With his rating of 100, there are limited options, so this looks a good spot to get him back in action. He has always shown plenty of speed, so hopefully the trip will suit first time back.”

Watson has two entered in the same race, with Dobbs on board Lytham St Annes, who is a dual course and distance winner, most recently on his penultimate start in March.

Stable companion Waady will have the assistance of Dane O’Neill, the retained jockey of Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid.

“They are both training well and we are looking forward to getting them back on the track,” Watson said. “It looks a decent race, but we are happy enough with our pair.”

Watson has half of the eight runners in the fifth race. The American trainer’s Etijaah, spearheads the challenge that also include Tried And True, Galvanize and Dehbashi.

Beasley and Bin Harmash may again provide the most serious opposition to the Watson quartet with Mudallel having finished last season with a course and distance victory on just his fourth local and dirt outing.

Updated: November 6, 2019 04:36 PM