Roy Orbison
Roy Orbison (right) ridden by Fernando Jara wins the Longines La Grande Classique Collection at Meydan. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: A busy weekend’s racing in the UAE sees the Sharjah Equestrian and Racing Club host the first of its six meetings on Saturday, where the highlight is a 15-runner handicap sponsored by the Government of Sharjah Directorate of Public Works.

Reigning champion trainer Doug Watson saddles two horses, both live chances, Dangerous Thought and Team Meeting, formerly trained by Saeed Bin Surour for Godolphin.

Watson has already taken a lead in the trainer’s championship, with five wins — thanks to his quadruple at Meydan’s opening meeting last week — and looks to have strong claims on a strong Sharjah card.

However, it was Satish Seemar, another former champion trainer, who ruled the roost at Meydan on Thursday night when he bagged two races — with Welford in the Longines Master Collection Moon Phase and Lavaspin in the Longines Ladies Record Collection.

Welford, a smart acquisition by Dubai-based Touch Gold Syndicate during last year’s Racing in Dubai Sale, was particularly impressive when recording a five-and-a-half-length victory under former champion jockey Richard Mullen.

A good-looking son of Dubawi who was formerly trained by Mark Johnston in the UK, Welford looks a nice horse for the future having demonstrated his liking for the Meydan dirt.

The official feature was the Longines VHP Collection handicap, which went to the Ali Rashid Al Rayhi-trained Taamol, who was a comfortable winner over Seemar’s Pilgrim.

“We were very hopeful today when dropping the horse in class and knew he was in good form coming into the race,” Al Rayhi said. “Hopefully he can follow this up.”

The Emirati handler, who is known to celebrate every winner as if it were his first, notched a Meydan double when Roy Orbison, named after the late music legend famous for the iconic song Pretty Woman, won the Longines La Grande Classic Collection.

Stable jockey Fernando Jara was in the saddle for owner Mohammad Khalifa Al Basti.