Dubai: Seven-time UAE champion trainer Doug Watson will be looking forward to continuing his dominance of the UAE flat when the 2018-2018 racing season kicks-off at Jebel Ali Racecourse on Friday.
From its base in the centre of Dubai, Watson’s Red Stables sent out 48 winners last season while amassing prize money in excess of Dh12 million.
Eleven of those came at Jebel Ali, a happy hunting ground for the affable American, who can begin with a bang should Cosmo Charlie run out a winner of the day’s feature event, the Dh120,000 Shadwell Handicap over seven furlongs.
A four-year-old son of Ashford Stud’s Stay Thirsty by Bernadini, Cosmo Charlie won the Dh250,000 Jebel Ali Classic at Jebel Ali’s final meeting of last season in March, on his only appearance at the track.
A consistent performer, the Ramzan Kadyrov-owned gelding has also posted a pair of wins at Meydan Racecourse where he has done most of his racing, having raced 11 times on the dirt.
Cosmo Charlie also has a pattern race victory to his credit following his victory in the Listed Al Bastikya during the 2017 Dubai World Cup Carnival.
He faces 12 rivals, including the Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained Daily Bulletin, the only other course winner in the field.
The Shadwell Handicap is one of seven races on the card, the first time that a seventh race is run at the popular Garden Party racecourse, and a trend that will continue during all 12 meetings hosted at Jebel Ali.
“We are happy to announce that Jebel Ali Racecourse will this season host seven-race meeting as opposed to the six in previous years,” Mohammad Al Sheha, the venue’s dynamic new manager, said earlier.
“We realised there has been a call out for more races in the UAE during the season from owners and trainers, so with the support of the Emirates Racing Authority (ERA), we have decided to host an extra race at every meeting this season.
“We promise more developments and initiatives will take place at Jebel Ali Racecourse as the season progresses,” he added. “We have a new trainer, Nicholas (Bachalard), new staff and some new horses.
“These are exciting times as Jebel Ali, now we just have to win some races for Major General Shaikh Ahmad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Chief of Dubai Police and Public Security.
“We are hopeful of having a good season all around, on the track and with our many patrons.”