Doug Watson is triple handed in the Listed Dubai Creek Mile as he bids for the top prize for the third time.
The seven-time UAE champion trainer won the prize with Stunned in 2018 and Thegreatcollection 12 months ago. This time, he is well-represented in the 11-runner field at Meydan on Thursday.
Thegreatcollection is among that trio and will be ridden by Pat Cosgrave. The seven-year-old gelding by Saint Anddan didn’t win again last season but he did finish runner-up in the first two rounds of the Al Maktoum Challenge and fourth in the third leg, which was enough to earn him a starting spot in the Dubai World Cup where he was seventh.
Watson’s stable jockey Pat Dobbs partners Midnight Sands, a six-time winner after eight visits to Meydan.
He won the Group 3 Burj Nahaar on Super Saturday but disappointed in the Godolphin Mile on Dubai World Cup night.
The trainer’s third runner, Golden Goal, is the mount of Sam Hitchcott. He broke the 1,400m dirt track record, which still stands, when winning a carnival handicap in January.
He was fourth to Midnight Sands on Super Saturday, and was in front of his stable companion when an excellent second in the Godolphin Mile.
All three are making their seasonal debuts and first start since the Dubai World Cup meeting. That means they have been off the track for 264 days.
“All three are in really good shape and go there ready for a run but it is a shame I could not split them up instead of having to run them against one another,” Watson said.
“They will all improve from the run but this is a good spot to get their seasons started albeit, unfortunately, in the same race.”
As the only thee year old in the contest, Panadol receives weight from his 10 rivals.
The Salem bin Ghadayer-trained Flatter colt only made his debut in the middle of February, storming home to an easy victory in a 1,600m dirt maiden.
“Panadol has done very well over the summer but, as you would expect, he is taking on some good, tough horses and racing against his elders for the first time,” Bin Ghadayer said.
“His training has been very good so it will be interesting to see how he goes and we are very much looking forward to running him.”
The Group 3 Madjani Stakes, the only race for the Purebred Arabians, opens the seven-race card meeting.
Abdallah Al Hammadi is enjoying a superb season and has a trio entered - Winked, Goshawke, winner of the 2,200m Group 1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round-2 in 2019, and Hameem.
The last named is the choice of Cosgrave and is unbeaten after seven starts. However, the four year old is making his dirt debut having been campaigned solely on the Abu Dhabi turf thus far, culminating in victory on his only previous outing this season in the 1,600m Group 3 National Day Cup.