Doug Watson Triple Handed In Meydan Feature

Udabaa, Dr Faustus and Mantoba Bid For Domestic Success

Meydan’s penultimate meeting of the season takes place on Thursday evening after which the UAE’s iconic racecourse hosts the world’s richest race meeting, the Dubai World Cup, on Saturday March 30.

With the 2013 Dubai World Cup Carnival coming to a conclusion last week with Super Saturday, Thursday’s card, kindly sponsored by Gulf News, is a domestic one with all six races on the all-weather.

The penultimate race is a 2200m handicap and trainer Doug Watson is responsible for three of the twelve declared runners who have all been running well on the whole this season. Paul Hanagan rides Udabaa, a course and distance winner on his penultimate start, for his main employer, HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

He is joined in the field by stable companions Dr Faustus, the mount of Pat Dobbs and Mantoba, to be ridden by Dane O’Neill. A case can be made for all three.

“They have run some good races between them this season,” said Watson. “And this looks the ideal final race of the season for them as they are not likely to go to Jebel Ali next week. Udabaa won well two starts ago when we had a 1-2-3 in the race and he goes well on the all-weather.

“Mantoba and Dr Faustus have run against each other a few times this season, winning one apiece at Abu Dhabi. Dr Faustus has won at Meydan on this surface and I just hope all three can run well in a competitive little race.”

Udabaa was not able to land a blow in his most recent start in a course and distance handicap won by Ukrainian who will again be ridden by Royston Ffrench for Champion Trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe. He and the Abdulla bin Huzaim-trained Midnight Moon, the mount of Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea, are two others to consider in an open contest.

The preceding 1200m handicap is equally competitive with Richard Mullen’s mount Dubai Iconic, trained by Satish Seemar, an interesting contender dropped to this trip for the first time having won twice over 1400m in a five race career.

Mullen said: “He travels strongly and was not really getting home over 1600m when we tried but won well back at 1400m last time. After that we thought he would be worth a try over 1200m so this has been the plan since then.”

On his penultimate start he was third over 1400m, beaten a head by the Musabah Al Muhairi-trained Discoverer when the pair were separated by Kaiss, a stable companion of Dubai Iconic.

Discoverer has struggled in two runs at Jebel Ali since, most recently in a race won impressively by stable companion Muarrab who is again in opposition and Paul Hanagan retains the partnership on a horse who looks certain to be a popular Pick Six selection.

Al Muhairi’s third runner, Sand Stamp, certainly cannot be ignored with several good runs to his credit already this season, including a close fifth in the race won by Discoverer and an excellent second to Innocuous who opposes again. He is trained by Ali Rashid Al Raihe and will be ridden by Silvestre De Sousa, as he was when defeating Sand Stamp three starts ago.