Watson completes clean sweep of Firebreak Stakes

Prince Eiji, the mount of Sam Hitchcott, beat stablemate Everfast, ridden by Patrick Dobbs, by 1.25 lengths to win the eight-furlong affair

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The start of the fifth race, the Zabeel Turf, at Meydan racecourse on Friday. — Photo by Shihab
The start of the fifth race, the Zabeel Turf, at Meydan racecourse on Friday. — Photo by Shihab

James Jose

Published: Fri 27 Jan 2023, 10:32 PM

Prince Eiji will be primed for the Group 2 $1 million Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup night after the Doug Watson-trained seven-year-old landed the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes, the highlight of the fourth Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting at a soggy Meydan Racecourse on Friday night.

The son of the illustrious Dubawi, Prince Eiji, the mount of Sam Hitchcott, beat stablemate Everfast, ridden by Patrick Dobbs, by 1.25 lengths to win the eight-furlong affair.

And it was a clean sweep for veteran and current leading UAE trainer Watson with Thegreatcollection finishing third under Adrie de Vries.

“It is a great result and a great result for the owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum,” said Watson.

“Nice to see him come back like that. Eiji sat in the right spot, just off the pace and came home really nicely. Everfast ran great and Thegreatcollection again. So, fantastic result,” he added.

Watson said that the Godolphin Mile was the plan all along for Prince Eiji.

“I would say so. That’s always been kind of the plan with him. We will stick to the mile with him this year and he ran great and I can’t complain,” he explained.

Earlier, Lahresh, trained by Emirati handler Musabbeh Al Mheiri, won the opening race of the evening — the Festival City Stakes — under pouring rain at a drenched racecourse.

The three-year-old colt from Iffraaj, stayed in touch with the pace-setter Mr Precocious for most of the 1900-metre contest before making the move with 600 metres left to go. Lahresh took the lead under jockey Antonio Fresu and then pulled away to win by 4.5 lengths over Go Soldier Go, the charge of Fawzi Nass and the ride of Adrie de Vries. Flying Hunter, ridden by Ray Dawson was third, 0.75 lengths behind Go Soldier Go.

Godolphin’s Man Of Promise was unable to complete a hat trick of the Dubai Sprint, finishing second to the Gordon Elliott-trained Coachello, the mount of Dobbs, in the second race.

It was a bunched sprint across the six furlongs with none to pick but with 500 metres left to play out, Man Of Promise, ridden by William Buick, thought he had it in the bag. But Coachello sprang a surprise by edging past Charlie Appleby’s charge to clinch the contest by 0.75 lengths.

Man Of Promise had beaten stablemates Lazuli and Final Song convincingly in the same race in 2022 and 2021 respectively although the six-year-old from Into Mischief was beaten by Lazuli over a distance of 1000 metres, three weeks ago.

“Listen, he’s a horse we like. But you don’t know how he will handle these conditions but he was good and tough when we needed him,” Dobbs said after the race.

Race 3, the Longines Legend Diver Collection Handicap, was an intense affair with the lead changing hands across the 1900-metre trip.

Prevent did the early running with Pitcher’s Point and Quality Humor in the mix. With 300 metres left to go, Franz Strauss, sent out by reigning UAE Champion Trainer Bhupat Seemar and Withering, the charge of Nass, went toe to toe before Bhupat’s charge held on to win by a neck. The four-year-old Franz Strauss’ stablemate Sanad Libya finished third, 5.25 lengths behind Withering.

Bhupat hinted that Franz Strauss, who was the mount of record UAE Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea, could be aimed at the Curlin Handicap on February 10.

“The Curlin Handicap,” Bhupat said of Franz Strauss’ plans.

“It is in two weeks’ time and it might be a little bit quick turnaround. But, if he is doing well, we might go for the Curlin,” he added.

And the rain failed to dampen the proceedings with the fourth race throwing up another thrilling contest with Godolphin’s Mawj staving off the challenge from stablemate Dream Of Love to clinch the Jumeirah Fillies Classic by a short head.

Mawj broke well from gate 11 before settling in behind the pack over the seven-furlong affair. As they reached the closing stages and with 200 metres left to play, Mawj swept past Alseyoob to take the lead. But there was more to come as Mawj came under attack from Dream Of Love. But the three-year-old from Exceed And Excel held on under jockey Patrick Cosgrave.

Good Fortune, trained by Soren Jensen and the ride of Theo Bachelot, beat White Wolf by a short head to win the Zabeel Turf across 10 furlongs.


1. Festival City Stakes Presented by Longines

Winner: Lahresh

2. Dubai Sprint Presented by Longines

Winner: Coachello

3. Longines Legend Diver Collection

Winner: Franz Strauss

4. Jumeirah Fillies Classic Presented by Longines

Winner: Mawj

5. Zabeel Turf Presented by Longines

Winner: Good Fortune

6. Firebreak Stakes Presented by Longines

Winner: Prince Eiji

7. Jumeirah Classic Presented by Longines

Winner: Naval Power

8. Longines Record Collection

Winner: Western Symphony

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