Grand double 
for champion trainer Watson at Jebel Ali race meeting

The American trainer recorded impressive wins at Jebel Ali race meeting

Lost Eden and Andrea Atzeni win the Jebel Ali Stakes at the Jebel Ali racecourse on Sunday. (Picture courtesy Dhric/AK)
Lost Eden and Andrea Atzeni win the Jebel Ali Stakes at the Jebel Ali racecourse on Sunday. (Picture courtesy Dhric/AK)

By Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Mon 28 Feb 2022, 12:24 AM

Champion trainer Doug Watson has always been able to rise to the occasion and the American handler did so in style again at Sunday’s prestigious Jebel Ali race meeting where he snapped up the twin features of the afternoon.

The American, who has spent close to three decades in the UAE, clearly knows how to train a horse for the big races and he emphatically drove home that point when saddling the winners of the Jebel Ali Sprint and Jebel Ali Stakes.

Shadwell-owned Khuzaam may have suffered a setback when he bled during his last start at Meydan, but the six-year-old son of Kitten’s Joy looked to be the picture of health as he sprinted past long-time leader and favourte Alkaraama, to win the 1,000 metre Sprint by a cosy two-length margin.

An hour later, it was the turn of another Watson trainee, the five-year-old Lost Eden, who would mow down the dangerous front runner, Irish Freedom, to win by a length and a half.

The winner was ridden by England-based Italian jockey Andrea Atzeni, who is retained by Lost Eden’s Derby-winning owner, Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum.

“I’m extremely pleased for the owners,” said Watson. “Shadwell has given me so many opportunities over the years so winning the Sprint for them was special. Sheikh Obaid Al Maktoum has given us a nice bunch of horses, so it’s great to win a nice race for him.”

Commenting on Lost Eden’s victory in the Jebel Ali Stakes, where Atzeni needed to summon up all that his horse had to wear down Irish Freedom, Watson said: “Andrea gave him a nice ride. We all know what Irish Freedom can do when he gets loose on the lead, nobody took him on today. He’s a tough horse to peg back but we’ve got a nice horse on our hands.

“Hopefully we’ll try him over at Meydan next season.”

Elaborating on Khuzaam’s win in the Listed Jebel Ali Sprint, the reigning champion handler said: “He ran so great the first time here, and then we took him to Meydan and he bled.

“It’s been a long road back from there but everybody has worked hard and the horse has done well. Glad to win this for Shadwell, it’s such a fantastic feeling.”

“In his last start he was going to win by say five lengths at Meydan and then he bled and he stopped. So we had to give him time (to recover), work with him, work with the bleeding and hopefully, we now have that covered.”

Watson went on to complete a three-time when Rougher won the concluding 1,950 metre Jebel Ali Handicap from the Bhupat Seemar-trained Tapitution.

However, it is Seemar who continues to hold sway at the top of the UAE Trainers Championship for the 2021-2022 racing season with 37 season winners, seven clear of Watson.

Jebel Ali Racecourse hosts its penultimate meeting on March 12 and the final afternoon of the season on March 19.

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