Doug Watson saddles three in the Listed Dubai Creek Mile. Thegreatcollection is among that trio and will be ridden by Pat Cosgrave.
Gulf Today, Staff Reporter
Racing at Meydan on Thursday features a Stakes race apiece for both the Purebred Arabians and the Thoroughbreds, the latter, the Listed Dubai Creek Mile the most valuable race on the card and attracting a field of 11, including last year’s winner, Thegreatcollection.
Trained by Doug Watson, who also saddled Stunned to land this prize in 2018, Thegreatcollection will be ridden by Pat Cosgrave, as he was 12 months ago, when his victory in this kick started a season in which he performed with distinction throughout the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
A 7yo gelded son of Saint Anddan, he may not have won again last season but he did finish runner-up in both the first two rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge and fourth in the third leg, enough to earn himself a starting spot in the Dubai World Cup in which he was seventh.
Watson’s stable jockey, Pat Dobbs, partners Midnight Sands, a winner six times after eight previous visits to Meydan, highlighted by the Group 3 Burj Nahaar on Super Saturday, before somewhat disappointing in the Godolphin Mile on the Dubai World Cup card.
The trainer’s third runner, Golden Goal, the mount of Sam Hitchcott, broke the 1400m dirt track record, which still stands, when winning a carnival handicap in January. Fourth to Midnight Sands on Super Saturday, he was in front of his stable companion when an excellent second in the aforementioned Godolphin Mile.
All three are making their seasonal debuts and first start since the Dubai World Cup meeting so have been off the track for 264 days.
Watson said: “All three are in really good shape and go there ready for a run but it is a shame I could not split them up instead of having to run them against one another.
“They will all improve from the run but this is a good spot to get their seasons started albeit having to run, unfortunately, in the same race.”
As the only 3yo in the contest, Panadol receives weight from his ten rivals. Trained by Salem Bin Ghadayer for Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, the Flatter colt only made his debut in the middle of February, storming home to an easy victory in a 1600m dirt maiden.
That success over Thursday’s course and distance was backed up with victory in the 1900m Listed Al Bastakiya on Super Saturday. Over the same 1900m, he then found only Godolphin’s Rebel’s Romance too good in the Group 2 UAE Derby, his third and final outing of his debut season.
He has been partnered by Mickael Barzalona on all three racecourse appearances and, perhaps significantly, the Frenchman rides in the UAE for the first time this season with six mounts on the card.
Ghadayer said: “Panadol has done very well over the summer but, as you would expect, he is taking on some good, tough horses and racing against his elders for the first time.”
Dettori had previously secured the Dubai World Cup on Dubai Millennium, Moon Ballad and Electrocutionist, but this was the first time he had done so in colours other than those of Godolphin.
“This was his first time running this well on firm ground and in the past he’s run well on softer ground, so taking him over to Europe is high on his to-do list. We’d like to head to Royal Ascot for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.”
Over 1200m on dirt, the surface on which the whole card was staged due to issues with the turf track caused by inclement weather, it was contested by a select sextet but, having raced in the rear, O’Shea took aim at the other five leaving the home turn and found a willing partner.
One of those was compatriot Shahryar, who himself was prominent but boxed on at the far rail to repel the challenges of Pyledriver and the fast closing Yibir — who closed all the way to the line down the stand-side rail.
Williams's farewell on-court interview was threaded with emotion. "I love playing here, I've always loved playing here," she said, choking up as fans who cheered her throughout the match called out their appreciation.
Currently, Babar is placed at the top with 818 rating points, however, India's Suryakumar Yadav is not far behind as he has 805 rating points. Last week, he stood at 816 points, just two points shy of Babar.
The tournament will be held over the weekend of Feb.18-19, 2023 at Zayed City Sports Stadium, an iconic landmark in Abu Dhabi and the largest multi-purpose sports venue in the UAE.