Watson In Double Form at Jebel Ali

Photo: Erika Rasmussen (

Trainer Doug Watson has had his horses in great form throughout the season and saddled a double at Jebel Ali on Friday afternoon, highlighted by the victory Shamaal Nibraas in the featured 1400m handicap.

An excellent second on his seasonal debut and first run for the yard at Meydan Racecourse’s first meeting of the season six weeks earlier, Watson’s charge was then a bit disappointing at the same track two weeks later.

Freshened up by his handler, he showed the benefit of 22 days between races and was always going well under Pat Dobbs who was content to bide his time before asking for a challenge 300m from home.

His mount responded well, leading soon after and running on too strongly for Encipher, a course and distance winner four weeks ago.

“We were very hopeful coming into the race,” said Watson.

“Having delighted us on his comeback we perhaps ran him back too soon and he was a bit flat."

“The three weeks since that outing have helped him and we knew he was in good form."

“Hopefully the Jebel Ali Mile and Dubai World Cup Carnival will be on his agenda.”

Trainer and jockey went on to complete a double when Hacienda, opened his local account at the 22nd attempt in a 1600m handicap which produced the best finish of the afternoon.

It was only right on the line Dobbs and Hacienda hit the front, denying Bismarck by a short-head with Ormindo, who was finishing fast, just failing to catch the other pair and a neck further behind.

“It is great to see this horse finally get his head in front for us,” said Watson. “He has run some great races in defeat and has rarely run a bad race. This reward is for his consistence and it would be nice to think he could win again.”

That victory took Watson to 15 winners for the season, two more than Satish Seemar who landed the opening 1800m handicap with Mawhub, repeating his course and distance victory of a month previously.

Ridden confidently by stable jockey, Richard Mullen, he was settled well off the early pace before making smooth progress with 600m left to run. The pair led 200m later and were never going to be denied.

“That was a good performance when he won last month,” said Mullen. “He has remained in good form at home since and the horse he beat had won since so we knew he would at least go very close."

“Hopefully he has more to offer.”

It was Mullen’s 18th success of the campaign, five more than Dobbs, Tadhg O’Shea and Royston Ffrench.

Thirty minutes later Momaris emulated Mawhub, in his case landing a 1400m handicap, just as he had done four weeks earlier. Trained on the course by Dhruba Selvaratnam for racecourse patron, HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and ridden by stable jockey, Oisin Murphy.

“He was impressive the last day,” said Murphy. “The 1400m here really suits him and this was definitely a better effort in a stronger race.”

Ahmad Bin Harmash opened his account for the season by saddling Idler to win a 1200m handicap, leading close home under Wayne Smith. Seemingly struggling at halfway, Smith’s mount responded to his urgings to lead close home.

“He had been off a long time before his comeback at Meydan three weeks ago,” said Smith. “Clearly he has benefitted from that run and has relished the uphill finish today.”

The meeting concluded with a 1600m maiden and it was third time lucky for the Musabah Al Muhairi-trained Silver Galaxy, ridden to a comfortable victory by Silvestre De Sousa.