Dubai: Doug Watson says he’s never had a higher quality team of horses running on Dubai World Cup night than the eight he’s expected to field at Meydan on Saturday, and amongst them he says Polar River is the best horse he’s ever had.
The Dubai-based American may have added a fourth UAE champion trainer title to his trophy cabinet this season with a personal best 56 winners, but he’s never won on World Cup night since taking over Red Stables from Kieran McLaughlin in 2004.
That could be about to change, however, as he unveils what he says is his best selection, spearheaded by this season’s UAE 1000 Guineas and UAE Oaks winner Polar River, who is up for a stab at the triple crown in the UAE Derby.
“This is my strongest field by far,” said Watson. “I don’t think I’ve ever had anything under 15-1 odds in all my World Cups here and I have a few under that now this year, so hopefully we can get a result.
“It would mean a lot to me and my team and everyone here. I’m always nervous but this year it’s just a little more nerve wracking.”
Of Polar River he said: “She’s our best chance, and my best horse since I started training.
“We’ve had some nice ones with us down here over the years but most local trainers get ready made horses from the UK or US and we just try our best to keep them sound and improve them. But from start to finish to get a horse that hasn’t won before and with the possibilities that are now available to her, she’s the best.”
Watson also runs Candy Boy, who fnished fourth in the Dubai World Cup last year. However an injury in-between, means he hasn’t run since that race.
“With a year’s lay-off I don’t know about getting closer but he’ll run a nice race,” said Watson. “It’s a shame he had the injury because I’d love to have been able to prepare him better, because he’s training better than at this point last year and has a lot more energy, but it’s a tougher race this year. If he gets into one of the placings I’d be pretty happy.”
As well as Candy Boy and Polar River, Watson also has Cool Cowboy, One Man Band and Faulkner all running in the Godolphin Mile.
“If One Man Band gets a slow break it’s race over, but Cool Cowboy can come through horses, he takes kick back and runs his heart out,” said Watson, who also has Basateen in the Dubai Turf, My Catch in the Dubai Golden Shaheen and Meadow Creek in the Dubai Gold Cup.