Doug Watson became the first trainer to go through the entire card at Meydan when he saddled all six winners on Thursday.
The six-time champion trainer saw jockey Pat Dobbs partner five of those winners with Dane O’Neil taking out the sixth on a record-breaking night at the UAE racecourse.
The six-race card was run on the same dirt surface as the $12 million Dubai World Cup and Watson’s record-breaking day started with Rio Angie making an easy success of the seven furlong fillies’ maiden.
The highly touted debut two-year-old was a slight favourite over another with lofty hopes, Down on Da Bayou but it all ended quickly for the latter, as Down on Da Bayou blew the start by double digit lengths. Rio Angie however had no such problems and closed her final 400 metres in just under 24 seconds to win by four and three-quarter lengths over Majhoola. Down on Da Bayou finished fourth after rushing to re-join the field and ultimately paying the price for her exertion.
Dobbs then steered Trenchard and Mulfit to a quickfire hat-trick for Watson; the first when the former took the gulfnews.com handicap. Run over 1600 metres, Trenchard closed well, despite going nearly five-wide turning for home, eventually winning handsomely by five and a half lengths. Cachao trailed in second with Davy Lamp almost four lengths further back in third.
The Gulf News Friday maiden over 1600 metres came next but in totally different circumstances with heavily favoured Mulfit having to work hard to lead near the wire. He denied Shanaghai City, who flew from the stalls under Bernardo Pinheiro and looked the likely winner. However his mount could not maintain his early speed, and Dobbs took advantage to raise Mulfit who made relentless progress to lead in the final 50 metres and win by a length and three-quarters.
Three wins for Watson became four when Dane O’Neill struck on Waady in the REACH by Gulf News handicap. Group 3 winner Waady returned to form despite being the less-fancied of the two Watson charges. The other was Lytham St Annes who failed to impress and show his normal early foot, but partly redeemed itself by running on late to be fourth. Meanwhile, Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Waady, sporting the Shadwell blue and white, gamely held off seasoned ex-American sprinter Pop the Hood in fine style
Watson was responsible for half of the eight runners in the evening’s feature, the Gulf News handicap over 2000 metres, but for once looked likely to have to settle for minor honours when Royston Ffrench and Walk in the Sun shot clear at halfway and entered the final straight full of running. However, Dobbs was happy to bide his time in last place trailing by 25 lengths before asking seven-year-old Tried and True to live up to his name which he did. The joint favourite clawed the deficit back in some style denying Walk in the Sun by half a length at the line, with Bois de Boulogne making up third place,
The meeting concluded with the InsideOut handicap which saw a winning return for The Cool Silk Partnership’s Midnight Sands. Breaking well, the promising three-year-old vied for the lead with Gervais before putting that foe away emphatically, winning with some aplomb by four and a quarter lengths. Mazeed rallied well to take second from Gervais.
The six-time success moves Watson’s seasonal total to eight and puts him firmly in the lead for an eighth UAE championship at this early stage of the UAE season. He is three ahead of Satish Seemar and five superior to defending champion Ernst Oertel. Dobbs also jumps into the lead in his division with six victories over the five won thus far by Connor Beasley.
Meydan Racecourse is home to the world’s richest race day, the $35 million Dubai World Cup meeting, and will host 23 meetings on what promises to be another highly competitive and exciting season. Ten of those dates make up the Dubai World Cup Carnival, with the international showcase taking place on nine consecutive on Thursdays 2 January to 27 February 2020, before culminating with Super Saturday on 7 March 2020. The UAE season is then topped by the historic 25th running of Group 1 $12 million Dubai World Cup sponsored by Emirates Airline on 28 March 2020.
Before then, the next Racing at Meydan card is scheduled for Thursday 21 November.