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Watson Armed and Ready For Exciting Carnival Season



Red Stables Boasts Strong 2013/14 Arsenal

Red Stables trainer, Doug Watson, has plenty to look forward to this season.

With a mixture of exciting new recruits and well-regarded familiar faces in his barns, the handler is relishing the prospect of his Dubai World Cup Carnival campaigners.

“It’s going to be an interesting season,” said US-born Watson, a former UAE champion trainer. “We have some nice horses to look forward to and some decent types coming in.”

Watson’s long-time supporter, HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum maintains a string at Red Stables and draws on a mixture of familiar and new faces for the new term.

Foremost among the yard’s old guard is the popular seasoned campaigner, Barbecue Eddie.

He may be rising 10 but is still going strong and his Group 2 victory in the Al Maktoum Challenge R1 last season was a high point for Red Stables.

That victory completed a four-win streak and earned the 113-rated son of Stormy Atlantic a place in the Dubai World Cup-day Godolphin Mile.

“He’s a real star in the yard,” said Watson. “He will be brought out before the Dubai World Cup Carnival. He will be carrying the Group 2 penalty of course but there is a Conditions race on December 19 where we can get him started and then we will be looking at the Al Maktoum Challenge R1 again.

“That will see him backing up in three weeks, which might be a little tough for him. He’s really in great form though and we will see how he is after his run and make plans after that.”

The newly-gelded 108-rated So Beautiful, another of Sheikh Hamdan’s horses, was a Group 3 winner in France before arriving in Dubai for the 2012/13 season. He achieved encouraging seconds in the 2013 Al Rashidiya Trial Conditions race (now Listed Singspiel Stakes) and the 2000m Al Naboodah Commercial Group Handicap before fading to 11th in the Al Maktoum Challenge R2 and ninth in the Group 1 Jebel Hatta in his most recent start. “He will make his first appearance in a Listed race early on,” said Watson.

“If the gelding has stabilised him at all then he will show us a lot because he’s a very nice horse. If we get good results from him then he will be campaigned with an eye on the Dubai Duty Free.”

Albaasil is another from Sheikh Hamdan’s string who may show his true colours this year.

“He ran his one race last year and had a problem and then we had to stop,” said Watson. “He’s doing very well now though and again he will wait for the Dubai World Cup Carnival for his first start.

“He had a surgery over the summer and I think it’s helped him. He had some chips taken out of his legs which were causing him some problems. He’s rated 113 so it’s hard to get him started. He could possibly start in the same Listed race as So Beautiful and will be prepared mainly on the treadmill.”

New faces for Sheikh Hamdan include Jalaa, and The Taj. They both come to Dubai from Richard Hannon’s yard and have form in 1400-1600m Conditions races and Group 3 company respectively. Shebebi transfers from trainer, Mark Johnson and has winning turf form over 1400m and 1600m.

Meanwhile Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum`s stayer, Jutland, who claimed a very creditable fourth behind Cavalryman in the Dubai Gold Cup will once again have the newly-upgraded Dubai World Cup-day race on his agenda.

“He’s doing really well this year. He had one little hiccup in the middle of the season last year that threw him off,” said the trainer. “Once he came back out of that he won the Emirates Championships and ran great in the Dubai Gold Cup. We’d be looking at possibly a 10 furlongs conditions race up the hill and we’ll run him back in the Jebel Ali Stakes and then in some longer races on the turf at Meydan.

“He’s such a nice genuine horse and the Gold Cup will be his goal.”

“Jalaa and The Taj are sprinters while Shebebi is a former Mark Johnston charge and runs over 1400m; maximum 1600m and seems like a very nice type of horse to have in the yard,” said Watson.

Red Stables also benefits from a string of horses for popular UAE racing syndicate, the Emirates Entertainment Racing Club (EERC). Chief among them is Jebel Ali Racecourse specialist, Kilt Rock, who twice finished behind the Musabah al Muhairi-trained record breaker, Russian Rock last season in the Sprint Prep and Jebel Ali Sprint.

“He’s a superstar for the syndicate and he’s doing great,” said Watson of the 109-rated son of Giant’s Causeway. “We started him over seven furlongs at Jebel Ali this season when he finished third. He’s comfortable if he gets a good lead and we’ll be looking at the Jebel Ali Sprint and possibly a turf race in the Dubai World Cup Carnival.”

Maath Gool, another EERC horse was a surprise winner at Abu Dhabi on his seasonal debut.

“That was a great win for him and he still hasn’t come into his coat, so we’ll be spacing his races out and he will run on the all-weather. He could run in the National Day Cup, so we are thinking about that,” said Watson.

Mantoba, owned by Ahsan Ali Syed is looking at some longer races on the turf. “We would be looking at the turf races going longer for him,” said Watson. “He’s had a summer off, which should have done him good. He’s a trip horse and needs 2400m as he’ll stay all day. He’s a beautiful looking animal, so we will have some options for him in the longer.”

Church Music was bought out of the October sales by owner, Abdulmohsen Al Abdulkareem and with form on the all-weather over 1000m-1200m and will be looking at races at Meydan.

Watson recently welcomed the French four-time Group 1 winner, Meandre and Prix de la Foret fourth, Dux Scholar, a 2013 Carnival winner over 1000m back into his yard and is preparing them for Meydan runs after the New Year.

The pair were transferred to Watson’s yard from former trainer, Seth Benzell at the end of last season before they travelled to Europe under the care of Czech handler, Arslanjirej Savujev for a summer campaign. Now back in the UAE, the two Ramzan Kadyrov-owned runners will be prepared for a Dubai World Cup Carnival campaign.

And Kadyrov has bolstered his UAE string during the European season. Make It Reel is a 98-rated two-year-old Listed winner over 1000m who has been placed in Group 3 company over 1200m in France. The 110-rated Slumdogmillionaire comes to the yard from South Africa where he boasts some smart form, claiming the 1600m Grade 1 Horse Chestnut Stakes in March 2013.

“Slumdogmillionaire is a half-brother to Smart Strike and looks like a nice horse. Make It Reel was purchased out of the Arc sales and could be a Guineas possible and they are both nice horses to have in the yard,” said Watson. “With all the newly-arrived horses, a lot depends on how they settle here.”

Two more new horses, which come Watson’s way from new Russian owner, Valentin Bukhtoyarov, are My Catch and Limario.

“These two are also interesting,” said the trainer. “My Catch is 102 rated and could be another Guineas contender while Limario has a rating of 110 and won the German Derby Prep.”