After just two weeks of the new racing season, the trainer’s championship race already looks set to be another tight contest between defending champion Bhupat Seemar and Doug Watson.
They each saddled a double at Meydan’s opener on Friday and Watson followed it up with another two wins at Jebel Ali’s second meeting on Saturday to Seemar’s solitary winner.
Western Symphony and Pitcher’s Point, both under stable jockey Tadhg O’Shea, were Seemar’s two winners at the headquarters.
Watson followed up his treble at Jebel Ali’s opener last month with a double with One Idea and Verboten, both ridden by Pat Dobbs, to take the trainer’s tally to seven.
The Jebel Ali meeting was highlighted by a couple of handicaps rated for horses 80 to 100, and Salem bin Ghadayer’s Tenbury Wells under Royston Ffrench won the one run over the 1,600-metre trip. Verboten took the other run over 1,900m.
Tenbury Wells scored a gutsy win. He was hard ridden to lead in the early stages and then never headed in the colours of the Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed.
It was a fourth career success for the five-year-old gelded son of Medaglio D’Oro and his second in the UAE over the track and trip.
“He is a lovely horse and probably unlucky not to have won more for us as he did not always have the best of luck in the past. This is a perfect start to his new season” Ffrench said of Tenbury Wells.
At Meydan, Pitcher’s Point and Al Maroom led a one-two finish for Seemar. O’Shea prevailed over Sandro Paiva on the line having been headed with about 25m remaining.
“To be honest I thought I was beat but full credit to my fellow because he just kept battling away and put his head back in front on the line. It was a great effort from both horses,” O’Shea, said.
O’Shea was completing a double after turning the previous race into a procession onboard Western Symphony.
The second feature prize on the night was won by Bin Ghadayer’s Book Review with Ffrench atop.
“We know he goes well fresh and once he has a lead he is a very hard horse to get past. Hopefully he can have a good season and be a bit more consistent than he has been in the past,” French said of the Dubawi gelding’s victory over Seemar’s Twelfthofneverland by five and a quarter lengths.