x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 20 July 2017

UAE trainer Doug Watson lands two Dubai World Cup runners and will now take aim at Singapore

Local trainer Doug Watson acquires Meandre and Dux Scholar, who have stayed in Dubai since the World Cup and will now sets his sights on Singapore, writes Geoffrey Riddle.

Meandre took sixth behind Animal Kingdom at the Dubai World Cup and local trainer Doug Watson will take on the horse before a race in Singapore next month. Jaime Puebla / The National
Meandre took sixth behind Animal Kingdom at the Dubai World Cup and local trainer Doug Watson will take on the horse before a race in Singapore next month. Jaime Puebla / The National

Doug Watson is to have his first international runners next month having acquired Meandre and Dux Scholar.

The UAE trainer has been handed the two horses following their runs on Dubai World Cup night last Saturday.

Meandre, who was sensationally bought by Ramzan Kadyrov, the Chechen president, during the lead-up to the World Cup has remained in Dubai having finished sixth to Animal Kingdom in the world's most valuable race for Andre Fabre, the French trainer.

Dux Scholar, a Dubai World Cup Carnival winner for Kadyrov who was seventh to Shea Shea in the Al Quoz Sprint, has also stayed behind having been formerly trained by Seth Benzel.

Both horses are to be aimed at Singapore’s lucrative international meeting on May 19.

“It will be the first time we will have had international raiders from Red Stables,” Watson told The National.

“We’ve got a ton of people here with experience of travelling with horses, and to Singapore in particular, so I’m asking new questions of them every day.

“I haven’t had time to discuss future plans with the owner but the horses could then go to Europe, but as I’m a UAE trainer I would not go with them so somebody else would have to take them on.”

Dux Scholar was entered for the Krisflyer International Sprint at the initial entry stage in the middle of last month, whereas Meandre was added to the field for the Singapore Airlines International last week at the supplementary stage.

“We plan to go ten days beforehand so they can settle in,” Watson said.

“Dux Scholar is a really nice little horse, compact and strong, while Meandre did well to run sixth in the World Cup having arrived from France before the race.

“We gave him a week off after the World Cup as he was a little quiet afterwards.”

Watson also had an update about Meyan Racecourse’s favourite son, Barbecue Eddie, who was a disappointing 11th from 16 runners behind Soft Falling Rain when drawn poorly in the Godolphin Mile.

It was the 21st time the nine-year-old had run at the Dubai track and although there were rumours after the race that the gelding was to be retired, Watson refuted those claims.

“We’ll give him one more shot next season,” the trainer added.

“I have spoken to Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid, and we’ll find something for the horse before next season’s Carnival.

“If anything shows up that his career is at an end then he owes us nothing at all. People have been asking about whether he is available to buy already.”

The three-times UAE champion trainer had a lean time of it this season, sending out only 17 winners which is his worst haul for a campaign since taking over Red Stables from Keiran McLaughlin for the 2004 season.

Watson has been hamstrung to a certain extent by injuries to key horses but maintains that this summer is all about re-stocking his larder in an effort to beef up his challenge next season.

“We were short on horses this season and we need to regroup and find more horses for next season,” Watson said.

“All in all we had a good year with what we had and everyone here worked as hard as they could to deliver the best results we could have done.”

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