Doug Watson`s String Enriched By Addition Of French Group 3 Winner So Beautiful

American Handler Hoping For Better Luck After 2012 World Cup Day Injury Woes

After seeing two Dubai World Cup day runners scratched at the eleventh hour last season, few could argue that Doug Watson, set to saddle nine at tomorrow`s opening meeting at Jebel Ali, is due a run of good luck.

And with a promising new addition to the yard in the shape of Group 3 winner, So Beautiful, as well as a handful of progressive handicappers, Watson and his team are hopeful of a successful new term.

“It was just so disappointing last season,” recalled Watson from his Red Stables base next door to Godolphin HQ in Al Quoz. “It was the day of the draw and we found out that Barbecue Eddie [due to contest the $1m Group 2 Godolphin Mile] was going to jump from stall two. We were in the office here and we were excited because we knew that was a great spot for him. We really felt he could get a place.

“Literally a minute later, Dion [McFadzean – a barn manager at Red Stables] walked in here with a thermometer and said, ‘Barbecue has a temperature of 104’.”

This was two days before the eight year old gelding was due to race and although his temperature was soon controlled, Barbecue Eddie would not have been allowed to race with the medication he needed to take.

“We were disappointed about Barbecue Eddie but at the same time our big World Cup hope, Silver Pond, was also having difficulties,” said Watson. The Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 runner up, who was beaten by Godolphin’s eventual Group 1 US$10m Dubai World Cup second, Capponi, had been looking stiff during his work in the week before the big day.

“He was just not moving well,” said Watson, who is a three-time UAE Champion trainer. “By Wednesday he pulled up and although we couldn’t find exactly what was wrong, we knew then that the chances of him running were slim. We waited until the morning of the big day because we wanted to give him every chance, but on Friday he was lame and we knew we wouldn’t be able to get him in the race.”

What transpired to be a bruised cannon bone spelled the end of Red Stables’ World Cup dream. Now Watson is hopeful this term will come to a more successful conclusion on the March 30 renewal of the world’s richest race day.

“We’ve got a few to look forward to,” said Watson. “There are some familiar faces who are ready to get out there and are going well and one or two new names in the yard and we may be getting a couple more as the weeks go on.”

Creating a stir in Red Stables is the new Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum purchase, So Beautiful, a Group 3 winner over 1,800m in France.

“He’s just a really nice horse,” said Watson. “He’s a three-time winner over distances of a mile and 1800m and he’s won on Polytrack, which of course is not the same as our all-weather but is a promising sign.

“We’ve got him and Albaasil [runner up Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort last term] and we will see how they get on with maybe the Dubai Duty Free in mind for Albaasil and let’s see if So Beautiful becomes a World Cup prospect.”

Kilt Rock, the Emirates Entertainment Racing Club’s Jebel Ali specialist went on a four-race winning streak up the hill last season culminating in a third-place finish in the Listed Jebel Ali Sprint. Watson said the Sprint will once again be the target in 2012/13 but that Kilt Rock may have fewer runs.

“He was such a great horse last season but by the end he was perhaps a little tired so we will schedule his races carefully and he’ll maybe run a maximum of five times.”

For tomorrow’s (Friday) opening meeting of the season, Daboos, a consistent performer at Jebel Ali, probably represents the yard’s best-known face.

“For Meydan on November 8 we will be looking to run Barbecue Eddie, Famous Warrior, Jutland, Dr Faustus and Cindercamp. As for the Arabians, Kandar du Falgas who will stay in training and Quite a Show will start their seasons,” said Watson.

In the wake of the retirement of jockey, Richard Hills, Watson is expecting Sheikh Hamdan’s retained rider, Paul Hannagan and second jockey, Dane O’Neill to take on most riding duties with assistance from Pat Dobbs and long-time UAE jockey, Tadhg O’Shea.

Doug Watson Profile

Nationality: American

Stable: Red Stables

Years Training: Watson has been training in the UAE since 2003 when he took over as master of Red Stables from former incumbent, Kiaran McLaughlin.

Highlights: Three-time UAE champion trainer (2005/6, 2006/7 and 2007/8) Watson has also enjoyed Dubai World Cup Carnival pattern race success with a host of victories for Purebred Arabians including the 2012 and 2010 Group 2 Bani Yas with Kandar du Falgas and Quaolina respectively as well as nine Group 1 wins in the Al Maktoum Challenge race series. Watson also claimed Thoroughbred wins in 2007 with the Group 3 Burj Nahar and Mahab Al Shimal with Boston Lodge and Terrific Challenge respectively.