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Watson Triple Handed in Abu Dhabi Feature

In Form Trainer Looks to Follow Up on Jebel Ali Double

Abu Dhabi’s Sunday meeting is highlighted by the only Thoroughbred race on the card, a 2400m handicap and trainer Doug Watson, fresh from a Jebel Ali double on Friday, looks to hold a strong hand with three runners.

Pat Dobbs, who rode both the trainer’s winners on Friday, partners Mantoba, a course winner over 2200m in January. He was fourth on his seasonal reappearance, also over 2200m at Abu Dhabi, behind stable companion Udabaa who is again in opposition. One of four in the eight strong field owned by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, he is the choice of the owner’s retained jockey Paul Hanagan. Dr Faustus, second in this race last year and the mount of Sam Hitchcott, completes the trainer’s trio.

“All my three must have a chance,” said Watson. “Dr Faustus has not had a run this year which would be a concern but he is as fit as we can get him without a run. He has been going well at home but does tend to need his first start back.

“Udabaa won nicely last time and remains in good form and we have always liked Mantoba; when things go his way his a very useful horse and these conditions really suit him.

“I expect all three to run big races and it is hard to split them.”

Of the other three Sheikh Hamdan-owned runners, his second jockey, Dane O’Neill, elects to ride Tanfeeth, trained by Musabah Al Muhairi, as is the same owner’s Rasmy. He was due to be ridden by stable jockey, Wayne Smith, but sadly Smith broke his collarbone at Jebel Ali on Friday.

The owner’s fourth runner, Amaan, is trained by Erwan Charpy and will be ridden by apprentice Noel Garbutt who rode his first UAE winner on Friday.

Achill Bay, a course and distance winner in November 2010 and second in this race in 2011, represents the Satish Seemar/Richard Mullen combination who have been enjoying a great recent run.

Champion Trainer Ernst Oertel relies on Malekov, having his first UAE start and the mount of Champion Jockey Tadhg O’Shea, in what looks a fascinating contest.

The best of the Purebred Arabian action is a 1400m handicap in which Oertel is set to saddle three of the 12 runners with O’Shea choosing to partner Chick Flick, winner of her two most recent starts, both at Abu Dhabi but over 1600m.

Trainer Jaber Bittar has his string n great form and saddles two with Jesus Rosales aboard Ameer Al Reef, a course and distance winner four weeks ago for the same jockey.

Stable companion Farooq, the mount of Richard Mullen, won on his seasonal return at Sharjah and was a close third at Abu Dhabi on his most recent start.

Eric Lemartinel, who trains on the Abu Dhabi track, rarely leaves his home base empty handed and saddles both Raked, under Gerald Avranche, and Naseem Al Reef, another of Smith’s intended mounts.

Duzar, trained by Majed Al Jahouri, should go well under Harry Bentley after two promising runs this season.