Horse racing

Watson, Hitchcott reel off a treble

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on November 13, 2020
Gabr en route to winning the feature race at the Jebel Ali Racecourse in Dubai on Friday afternoon. — ERA

Six-time UAE Champion Trainer notches second hat-trick in a fortnight

American conditioner Doug Watson saddled another treble in the second horse race meeting at the Jebel Ali Racecourse in Dubai on Friday afternoon.

Watson, a six-time UAE Champion Trainer combined with jockey Sam Hitchcott, to reel off a hat-trick of wins, including the feature race, in the sixth race meeting of the season.

Starting off by landing the Dh 100,000 Shadwell conditions race, the highlight of the afternoon, with dirt debutant Gabr, Watson went on to oversee wins in the Shadwell Farm handicap with Just A Penny and Dubai Refreshment maiden race with Torno Subito.

Coming on the back of a hat-trick in the first meeting at the historic racecourse just a fortnight ago, it swelled Watson’s tally to seven winners, one ahead of Salem bin Ghadayer, in the trainers’ championship.

Watson had won with Guernsey, Dark Thunder and Mystique Moon on October 30.

Meanwhile, Hitchcott, who is standing in for the injured Pat Dobbs, has six winners, one ahead of Richard Mullen, in the jockeys’ standings.

Making his fifth start for Watson, Gabr, the five-year-old son of Intello, relished his first run on dirt with the former Sir Michael Stoute charge stunning the fancied Captain Von Trapp and Eqtiraan to land the Shadwell conditions contest.

Gabr, who had won the Listed Foundation Stakes at Goodwood for Stoute, beat the Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-trained Eqtiraan by a length.

Captain Von Trapp, saddled by bin Ghadayer, finished fourth behind Al Rayhi’s Zaajer.

“He has always shown a lot at home, but not so much in his races for us and this was a good spot to try him here at Jebel Ali,” Watson said of Gabr, whose two outings in Meydan and one in Abu Dhabi were on turf.

“He obviously handled it so it gives us options. He stays 2000m, so I was happy 1600m here would suit him and I am very pleased with the horse,” he added.

Following that win, Watson and Hitchcott then went on to see Just A Penny beat stablemate Grand Argentier, the mount of Adrie de Vries, by 3.25 lengths in the Shadwell Farm handicap, contested over 1800 metres.

And the duo capped the evening with Torno Subito going out to be a 3.25-length winner over Rayhi’s Al Hadeer in the 1600-metre Dubai Refreshment maiden.

The next meeting at Jebel Ali is on November 27, while the next meeting of the season is on Saturday in Al Ain.

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