Horse racing

Watson pinning his hopes on all nine on Dubai World Cup night

James Jose/Dubai
Filed on March 23, 2021
Thegreatcollection, trained by Doug Watson, during morning trackwork at the Meydan Racecourse. (Dubai Racing Club/Erika Rasmussen)

A long-time resident of Dubai, Watson has nine horses spread across five of the nine races

It is the biggest night in the world of horse racing and American conditioner Doug Watson believes that each one of his charges are in with a chance on Dubai World Cup night.

A long-time resident of Dubai, Watson has nine horses spread across five of the nine races including Thegreatcollection in the centrepiece — the $12 million Dubai World Cup — on Saturday.

And the six-time UAE Champion Trainer is hopeful that they can stand up and be counted and make it a memorable night.

“We had a nice Dubai World Cup Carnival and got some horses out for the big night, so it all went well,” Watson said at the Meydan Racecourse, on Tuesday.

Apart from Thegreatcollection, who finished second in the first two round of the Al Maktoum Challenge during the Carnival, Watson’s other runners are Canvassed and Al Tariq in the Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen, Motafaawit in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint, filly Mnasek and Speight’spercomete in the Group 2 UAE Derby, and the trio of Midnight Sands, Premier Star and Golden Goal in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile.

“He’s earned his spot in there,” Watson said of Thegreatcollection.

“He’s a bit of a tricky horse. He’s had a really great run of it this year. Has only won one race but finished strong in the first couple of legs of the Al Maktoum Challenge. Hopefully, everything goes well for him here and I’d like to see him closing it at the end. He owes us nothing. He’s been a great servant for the years that we have had him for his owner,” he added.

Thegreatcollection, the seven-year-old from Saint Anddan, had finished 1.25 lengths behind Emirati trainer Musabbeh Al Mheiri’s Military Law, one of the contenders in the Dubai World Cup, in Round 1 of the Al Maktoum Challenge. In Round 2, he was a length behind Salute The Soldier, the charge of Bahraini handler Fawzi Nass.

Round 3, at 2000 metres, replicated the distance of the Dubai World Cup, and Thegreatcollection was fourth as Salute The Soldier won back-to-back.

“Like I said, he’s a tricky horse and he has a mind of his own. The camera crew was out watching him yesterday and I don’t think there’s been a slower half mile ever on the track. He tries to break his old record every time. Doesn’t do much in the morning, saves it for the afternoons. Really pleased with how healthy he is and had a nice stride up yesterday (Monday) afternoon, after his work. We are excited just to be in the race,” said Watson.

Talking about the rest of his runners, Watson said all nine runners have a chance but picked out Midnight Sands, who is gunning a seventh victory on the trot at Meydan.

“They all are in with a bit of a chance. Midnight Sands, obviously, is going for seven in a row around here,” he felt.


Thegreatcollection (Group 1 Dubai World Cup)

Canvassed, Al Tariq (Group 1 Dubai Golden Shaheen)

Motafaawit (Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint)

Mnasek, Speight’spercomete (Group 2 UAE Derby)

Midnight Sands, Premier Star, Golden Goal (Group 2 Godolphin Mile)

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