DUBAI: The Longines Ladies Master Collection highlights a seven race card in Meydan Racecourse’s second meeting of the new season on Thursday evening. A 1600m rated conditions stakes, it would not appear out of place at the Dubai World Cup Carnival.
Pillar Partner Longines generously sponsor the whole card and have been rewarded with a quality field of 11 in the feature in which no fewer than four are to be saddled by Champion Trainer Doug Watson.
The master of Red Stables has a vast array of 1600m stars at his disposal, highlighted by his landing the last two renewals of the Meydan Sobha Godolphin Mile on the Dubai World Cup card.
Stable jockey, Pat Dobbs, elects to ride Cosmo Charlie, the only three-year-old in the race and victorious in the Listed Al Bastakiya over 1900m on Meydan’s prestigious Super Saturday card in early March.
Sam Hitchcott is also based at Red Stables and rides Etijaah on whom he landed the inaugural Listed Curlin Handicap over 2000m at last season’s Carnival, defeating the 2016 Dubai World Cup runner-up, Mubtaahij in the process.
Mubtaahij was then fourth in this year’s World Cup and has subsequently won the Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita.
Faulkner, the mount of Fernando Jara, and Layl, who has the benefit of apprentice Josh Quinn’s 3kgs claim, complete the Watson quartet.
The ever affable American said: “All four are ready for a run and this looks a good spot to get them back in action.
“Faulkner missed last season but has been pleasing us at home and it will be nice to see him back on the track but, if I had to pick one of the four, it would be Cosmo Charlie.
“Hopefully he is improving and he does seem in great form but they all do. We think they all should run well in a strong looking contest.”
With Ahmad bin Harmash, Ali Rashid Al Rayhi and Salem bin Ghadayer all responsible for two runners, Satish Seemar is the only trainer with a single representative, Saltarin Dubai, the mount of stable jockey, Richard Mullen.
Formerly with Mike de Kock, he never threatened in four UAE outings last season but was a Grade One winner in his native USA and with the benefit of a Dubai summer on his back, should be fully acclimatised now.
Assistant trainer, Bhupat Seemar, said: “He is a nice new horse in the yard but running over a trip as short as he has faced to date.
“It may be he is better over a bit further but for his first outing since February, this looks the ideal race for his comeback.”
Wild Dude, trained by Bin Harmash and the choice of stable jockey, Colm O’Donoghue, is also a Grade One winner, having won twice at the highest level in 2015 for Jerry Hollendorfer in the USA.
He will be having his second start of the campaign, whereas stable companion Ennobled Friend, the mount of Pat Cosgrave and third in this race last year, has already run twice this season.
“We were a bit disappointed with Ennobled Friend at Jebel Ali last week after his pleasing comeback and hope returning to Meydan for the first time this season will suit him,” said Bin Harmash.
“Wild Dude ran a solid race on his first start for us but has never run over as far as 1600m so we will see how he goes but both seem in good shape at home.”
HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, owner of the aforementioned Etijaah, also has the Al Rayhi-trained Munaaser in the field to be ridden by his retained jockey Dane O’Neill.
Second in a course and distance handicap on his seasonal bow a fortnight ago, he has not won since his UAE debut, at Meydan in January 2016 over 2000m, but has run well more often than not in the interim.
All seven races are on the Meydan dirt surface. Sports Desk