Watson hoping to beat the odds at Dubai World Cup

'I have a team of five heading into the big day. They are a nice bunch,' Watson said



Mubakker will battle for glory in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile, a race Doug Watson has won twice with One Man Band (2016) and Second Summer (2017).
Mubakker will battle for glory in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile, a race Doug Watson has won twice with One Man Band (2016) and Second Summer (2017).

By Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Sun 20 Mar 2022, 11:59 PM

A positive mindset leads to positive results and perhaps nobody knows that better than former champion trainer Doug Watson, as he prepares to lead a five-strong team into Saturday’s $30.5 million Dubai World Cup meeting.

It’s been close to three decades since he arrived in Dubai as a hungry young groom hoping to forge a career on the country’s burgeoning flat racing circuit.

Watson has been rewarded for his patience and perseverance as he now commands one of the UAE’s premier racing outfits, the Championship-winning Red Stables in the very heart of Dubai.

On Saturday the American, whose big smile is his trademark, will be hoping to bring to fruition months of dedication and hard work with success at the Meydan showpiece.

“I have a team of five heading into the big day,” Watson said. “They are a nice bunch.”

The progressive Mubakker will be joined by last year’s runner-up Golden Goal in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile, a race Watson has won twice with One Man Band (2016) and Second Summer (2017).

Mubakker was second in the G2 Burj Nahar on Super Saturday, while Golden Goal finished eighth in the same race, having earlier won the opening round of the Al Maktoum Challenge.

“Both horses are in great form but a lot depends on the draw because there are 16 horses in there,” said Watson. “But they are in great shape.

“Both of them worked this morning and worked very, very well, so I’m happy with them

“Mubakker ran very well from a bad draw in the Burj Nahaar, while Golden Goal was scoped after the race with some mucus. But he’s doing better so they’ll probably be our best chance of winning on Saturday night”

Among the rivals that the Watson duo would face is the Bhupat Seemar-trained Al Nefud, a highly regarded son of Dubawiwho. Al Nefud was second behind Secret Ambition, last year’s Godolphin Mile winner and the leading Dubai World Cup contender in Round 2 of the Al Maktoum Challenge.

The American will also be hoping that G3 Dubawi Stakes hero Al Tariq and American import Everfast can deliver him a first success in the G1 Golden Shaheen, one of two exciting sprint contests on the nine-race card.

Al Tariq was fourth in Mahab Al Shimaal, a prep for the Golden Shaheen while Everfast was third to Hypothetical in the final leg of the Al Maktoum Challenge.

“After he ran in the Al Shindagha Sprint (3rd) he was a bit flat going into the Mahab Al Shimaal,” said Watson. “But he’s really come on over the last 10 days and is doing very well. Again, the draw is going to be very important.

“Everfast is dropping back in trip so were going to put the blinkers on. He’s won over every trip in America where his last spin was over seven furlongs in Saratoga,” he added. “So I would expect that he would be closing in the race and hopefully he’ll put in a big run.”

Watson’s preference is for training dirt horses but has an interesting contender in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint in the form of the Shadwell-owned Khzuzam, who might be a long-shot in a race where Charlie Appleby saddles the ante-post favourites, Man Of Promise and Creative Force.

The son of Kitten’s Joy, Kuzaaam caught the eye when streaking home in the Jebel Ali Sprint on his last outing on February 27 and Watson is hoping that the six-year-old can make good on his impressive morning work when he lines up in the 1,200-metre sprint.

“They didn’t sprint him the UK, he’s run on the turf before,” said Watson.

“We went over (to Meydan) last week and he had a nice spin on the turf. He also worked this morning very well.

“He’s a bit of an unknown but what he’s shown us at home has been very good and we’ll be hoping for a good place in the race.”

With a little luck, Watson and his close-knit team at the Red Stables can be rewarded for the long hours they have put in all year, with a success or two come Saturday.


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