Dubai: It has been two years since One Man Band was last seen on a racecourse, however, trainer Doug Watson issued an upbeat bulletin about the seven-year-old who makes a sensational comeback in the Dubai Creek Mile Sponsored by Azizi Developments, one of two feature races on Thursday’s exciting seven-race card at Meydan Racecourse.
This is the concluding domestic meeting of the year at the track and serves as an ideal curtain-raiser to the 2019 Dubai World Cup Carnival which commences on January 3.
The last time racing fans got to see One Man Band in action was in March, 2016, when he majestically led home a 1-2 for Watson in the Group 2 Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup night. Stable companion, Faulkner, was 4¾ lengths back in second on that day.
His impending return, not surprisingly, has galvanised champion trainer Watson who said: “One Man Band has been off the track for over two years and he’ll definitely improve from the run. He has been training great.”
The Red Stables boss also saddles international favourite Stunned and Thegreatcollection in Creek Mile, the first of the build-up races to the $1.5 million (Dh5.51 million) Godolphin Mile.
One Man Band was a course record-setter himself when winning the 2016 Godolphin Mile (G2) and boasts six wins at Meydan, including four in the Carnival.
Commenting on the chances of his two other runners, Watson said: “Stunned is in fine shape since his 1200m win in November. Thegreatcollection, if he can settle and put his best foot forward, should also be competitive.
“Hopefully all three have decent chances in the race.”
The biggest threat to One Man Band making a stunning winning comeback is Secret Ambition, who races out of Satish Seeamr’s Zabeel Stables, where Watson formerly was an assistant trainer.
Secret Ambition was runner-up to the Watson-trained Kimbear in the Burj Nahaar (G3) on Super Saturday last season and stable jockey Richard takes the ride on the son of Exceed and Excel.
“He’s in very good form and we believe he’s in as good of shape as last season, when he won three times,” Seemar said. “The only problem is he is drawn widest of all and things can get difficult from there, but he’s healthy, fit and doing really well, so we’ll see how he goes.”
The field is completed by the Mussabeh Al Mheiri-trained Zainhom, the Ahmad Bin Harmash-trained Rodaini and Sandeep Jadhav’s Capezzano.
The co-feature is the Over the Listed Entisar, run over the same course and distance at the Dubai World Cup.
The race has attracted a quality field of nine, including not just last year’s winner, Etijaah, in addition to Seemar;s Second Summer and Furia Cruzada, who represents French handler Erwan Charpy.
Thrice a Grade 1 winner in her native South America, the 7-year-old Furia Cruzada, contested the 2017 Dubai World Cup, where she finished seventh behind Godolphin’s Thunder Snow.
“We have done things a bit differently this season,” Charpy said. “She did not go to Europe and staying here means she is a bit further ahead in her schedule, so this race was the plan to set her up for the carnival.”
No horse has won the Entisar since it made its debut in 2013, but Watson has a strong change to set the record straight with Cosmo Charlie, who looks the one to beat
The evening’s action begins with the only Purebred Arabian race on the card, the 1900m Madjani Stakes sponsored by Azizi Developments (Listed) with the maximum allowed field of 16 declared in what looks a quality renewal of a race first contested as recently as 2016.
Race 1: 1. Ziyadd; 2. Al Tiryaq
Race 2: 1. Changging; 2. Alda’iya
Race 3: 1. Secret Ambition, 2. Stunned.
Race 4: 1. Foggy Light; 2. Razeena.
Race 5: 1. Cosmo Charlie; 2. Saltarin Dubai.
Race 6: 1. Lytham St Annes ; 2. Mutahaddith
Race 7: 1. Welford; 2. Cachao.
Day’s Best: Cosmo Charlie