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Winning Watson Claims 1-2 in Jebel Ali Feature Race

Sam Hitchcott on Stunned
Photo: Erika Rasmussen

Seemar and Watson Both in Double Form on Competitive Card

UAE Champion Trainer, Doug Watson was in sizzling form at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday, saddling the first two home in the featured 1400m handicap as well as providing a winning double on the card.

The feature race appeared on paper at least to be a competitive affair in which 13 runners were declared.

Sam Hitchcott, seemingly aboard the stable second string, Stunned landed the spoils with an ultimately comfortable victory, chased home by stable companion Lytham St Annes, which, like the winner, is owned by Mohd Khalifa Al Basti.

Lytham St Anne, under Adrie de Vries, was slowly away but soon led and, at halfway, it was clear they had most of their 12 rivals in trouble. The obvious exception though was Stunned and Hitchcott and the pair cruised to the front just under halfway before powering home in style.

“They are two very nice horses,” said Watson. “We had been struggling to find a race for Stunned and this looked the best starting point for his season. The 1400m, up this hill, was perhaps a query stamina wise but he has run on very strongly.

“Sam knows him very well as he rides him out at home daily so we, pretty much, left the tactics up to him and he gave him a great ride.

“Lytham St Annes had never raced on dirt before so that was a great effort and very positive with regard to going forward.”

Just 30 minutes later, the owner was celebrating a rapid double after the equally comfortable victory of Ordinal, ridden by Richard Mullen for Satish Seemar. Having only his second local outing after an excellent second on his first start for current connections over 1000m. Here he made short work of his 11 opponents here and looks a nice prospect.

“He has always trained very well and first time the race did not pan out to suit him as there was no cover so he probably over exerted in the early part. Today, he is a lot fitter and everything went perfectly,” said Seemar.

“Trust me, this is a very nice horse and one you will hear a lot about in the future because we really think he is very good.”
Mullen added: “This, we think, is a really nice horse and certainly one to look forward to. He did that in style today and, hopefully, can build on this.”

Trainer and jockey wasted little time in registering their own double, courtesy of the hard fought victory of Secret Ambition in the following 1600m handicap. Settled in the middle of the pack behind a frantic early speed set by stable companion Invincible Strike, Mullen’s mount made smooth progress to chase the pace before hitting the front in the final 100m to win comprehensively.

“We have six horses this season, our first racing in the UAE, and wins like this are very exciting”, said owner Nasir Askar.
However, his runner in the last, Nailout was unable to land a blow in the 1600m maiden, won by debutant Hello, a third winner on the card for Mohd Khalifa Al Basti, a second for Doug Watson and a first for stable jockey, Pat Dobbs.

The meeting opened with a handicap over 1950m in which Skygazer and local apprentice, Saeed Al Mazrooei, were never headed. Quickly away, the pair were seen in front and, despite looking likely to swamped early in the long straight, kept on going, seeing off all challengers the most persistent of which was from runner-up, Darkening.

“That was a very good ride from a promising apprentice jockey,” said Al Raihe. “This horse made all to win at Sharjah last time under Tadhg O’Shea who suggested we try similar tactics again and it worked very well.”

In that race at Sharjah, as he was here and therefore perhaps a case of déjà vu, Skygazer was chased home by Darkening.
Colm O’Donoghue is undoubtedly a world class jockey and looks certain to prove an inspired recruit by Ahmad bin Harmash, whose horses are flying. The pair combined with Brabbham, victorious in an 1800m handicap.

Settled in the middle of the field, Brabbham was asked to close early in the straight before hitting the front almost 400m from home and he stayed on in determined fashion.

“This horse has won over 2000m at Meydan so stamina was never an issue,” said O’Donoghue, riding his first Jebel Ali winner. “He has a great, big galloping action and the Jebel Ali hill really seemed to suit him.”