Feature race win stars in Watson’s Al Ain double - GulfToday

Feature race win stars in Watson’s Al Ain double


Kerless Del Roc (FR) ridden by Fernando Jara wins the 9F Al Hili Conditions race 5 at Al Ain on Saturday.

The enigmatic Sauternes Al Maury registered his third career success for Doug Watson and Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum in Al Ain’s Saturday finale, the concluding 2000m conditions contest, which was the highlight of a 7-race card.

With an official rating of 96, the 9-year-old entire was by far the one the remaining ten had to beat and he was always travelling strongly under Dane O’Neill, retained by the owner. They eased to the front with about 525m remaining, immediately challenged by Salb who proved a persistent challenger until the final 150m when Watson’s charge was well on top.

Watson, completing a rapid double, said: “He was entitled to win that and it is nice to see him get his head back in front. He has always had plenty of ability, but has not always been the most straightforward. I imagine we will retire him now.”

A 2000m handicap and only Thoroughbred race on the card saw the lead changing hands several times throughout the contest. Book review for the first half, losing the initiative to Skygazer who was then passed by Falcon Claws. However, when that one’s stable companion, local and dirt debutant Pharoah King, loomed large and grabbed the lead with about 47m remaining, the race was effectively over, Pat Dobbs completing an effortless double on the 4-year-old gelded son of American Pharoah trained by Watson for Ali A Aneizi.

The curtain raiser, a 1400m maiden for 4-year-olds in private ownership, was contested by a capacity field of 15, but very few ever threatened with the final 700m developing into a duel between Munfared and Al Mansour NF who just could not get past his determined rival. The winner showed a battling attitude under Fernando Jara, riding in the predominantly yellow silks of Al Rahmani Racing for trainer Ahmed Al Mehairbi.

The following 1600m handicap, for horses foaled locally, saw dirt debutant, the Ibrahim Al Hadhrami-trained Sawt Assalam win after leading virtually from the outset under Szczepan Mazur.

In the 1800m maiden that followed Pat Dobbs led the Mohamed Daggash-trained Dergham Athbah (GB) to a win.

Denied a double then, Jara only had to wait 30 minutes to complete his brace although his mount, Rajee, looked a most unlikely winner in the 1800m handicap in which he was virtually last as the field exited the home turn. However, the 4-year-old colt responded to Jara’s urgings, appearing fast and late to snatch the spoils from Pharitz Dubai who would have been a second winner on the card for Mazur.

The handler said: “He was third, then second in two starts here over 1600m, staying on too late to get to the winner each time so we thought this extra 200m would suit him, but all credit to the jockey who was working hard from a long way out.”

Normal service was then somewhat resumed over 1800m in a conditions race for horses who had not prevailed more than once previously with Jara aboard the exciting Kerless Del Roc locked in a war with Ottoman soon after entering the straight.

However, on this occasion, the battle was brief before Jara’s mount shot clear to follow up his track record winning effort of just last Friday, completing the jockey’s treble and doubles for Al Rahmani Racing and trainer Mehairbi. Beaten a long way on debut, in the aforementioned Abu Dhabi Championship, the exciting 4-year-old is unbeaten on dirt with his two victories over this track and trip.

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