Watson trains sights on fifth Jebel Ali feature win on trot - GulfToday

Watson trains sights on fifth Jebel Ali feature win on trot

Horse Racing

Kimbear after winning the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 in January 2020 for trainer Doug Watson. File

Friday’s final meeting of the Jebel Ali season is highlighted by The Jebel Ali Classic (Silver Jubilee), a 1400m conditions contest which has been dominated by Doug Watson since it was inaugurated in 2017, the American having saddled all four winners to date.  

He has three chances to continue that domination with stable jockey Pat Dobbs aboard Kimbear seemingly the main hope.  A 7-year-old entire son of Temple City, Dobbs’ mount has won thrice for Watson, including the 2018 Group 3 Burj Nahaar and, more recently, the 2020 Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge R1 last January. Dobbs has been aboard on each occasion with all three UAE victories registered over 1600m on the Meydan dirt surface.

This will be his first appearance at Jebel Ali whereas stable companion Mystique Moon has three victories to his name over Friday’s 1400m course and distance.

The mount of Sam Hitchcott, the 7-year-old Shamardal gelding made a winning seasonal return, at the end of October, in the same 1400m Jebel Ali handicap he also won last season. This will be his first Jebel Ali outing since that success.

Meanwhile, Watson’s third runner, Fanaar, the mount of Dane O’Neill, was third to Mystique Moon in the aforementioned October handicap and, three runs ago, was runner-up, over 1000m, in the Listed Jebel Ali Sprint, won by another stablemate, Al Tariq. The latter then won the 1200m Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal at Meydan.

Watson said: “Obviously we have done well in that race and we, hopefully, have three nice chances again. We know Fanaar and Mystique Moon like the track whereas it is an unknown for Kimbear, but if he handles it, he looks the best horse in the race.”

Those sentiments were echoed by jockey Adrie de Vries who rides Madkhal for Fawzi Nass. A 1200m Meydan handicap winner on his penultimate start, he then failed to land a blow in the 1600m Group 3 Burj Nahaar on Super Saturday.

De Vries said: “We missed the break last time which is why he did not run as well as we had hoped he would. This will be his first time at Jebel Ali but we think it will suit him.

“He is training well and in good form, but Kimbear is a classy horse and will be hard to beat if he handles conditions that will be new to him also.”

Trained by Nicholas Bachalard at the adjacent Jebel Ali Stables for racecourse patron Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Shamikh is unbeaten on his local track, his sole defeat after four starts having been suffered on his one visit to Meydan.

Twice a winner over Friday’s course and distance, most recently he landed a 1600m conditions race named in honour of former Jebel Ali stable jockey Pat Smullen.

Bachalard said: “It is, basically, a big step up in class for Shamikh, but we do at least know he handles conditions well. This will almost certainly be his last run of the season and he is a horse we are keen to try on turf sometime in the future.”

From three runners owned by Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, including Watson’s Fanaar, Jim Crowley has elected to ride Alkaamel, trained by Musabbeh Al Mheiri, as is the owner’s third runner, Alfareeq who will be ridden by Antonio Fresu.  

A 5-year-old gelded son of Havana Gold, Alkaamel has been running consistently well, mostly at Meydan, without adding to his 1600m success on that course last March, his final start of that campaign.

With a capacity field of 16 declared, it does look a good heat with jockey bookings suggesting Bochart and The Perfect Crown are considered the main hopes for Satish Seeemar and Salem bin Ghadayer respectively.

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