Doug Watson completed a dream season by clinching a record eighth UAE trainer’s championship title n Friday.
Watson was ready to trade the trainer’s crown for a winner on Dubai World Cup night and ended up achieving both, after Isolate under Tyler Gaffalione scooped the $1 million Group 2 Godolphin Mile.
Watson then went into the final domestic meeting of the season two winners ahead of defending champion Bhupat Seemar, and saddled the first two home in the only race for thoroughbreds in Al Ain on Friday.
“Winning a prize at the Dubai World Cup was certainly a joyous moment and then to win the UAE trainer’s title obviously was just too good a season for me,” said Watson, one of the longest serving trainers in the UAE.
Oscar Chavez, enjoying his best ever season with 20 winners, brought home Watson’s Exciting Days ahead of stable companion Meqdam and Sam Hitchcott by a length and-a-half in his third year riding in the UAE.
Exciting Days has now won three times, all in the UAE, having landed a 1,400m Jebel Ali maiden in October 2021 and winning on his penultimate start over 1,800m on the Meydan Racecourse turf at the beginning of February.
That winner took Watson’s tally to 40 for the season, three clear of Seemar to give the American a record eighth trainer’s crown.
“It has been an exciting season with Bhupat and Ernst (Oertel with 34 winners) doing very good jobs with their horses to take the trainer’s championship race to the wire,” Watson said.
“To win a prize in an international meeting such as the Dubai World Cup night is easily the best feeling and winning the trainer’s crown was the icing on the cake.”
Tadhg O’Shea and Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah defended their jockey and owner titles successfully.
The Al Ain Cup for the Purebred Arabians, a 2,000m event with Prestige status, was the highlight of the mixed seven-race card, and that prize went to Brazilian apprentice Marcelino Rodrigues on the Hamad Al Marar-trained Suny Du Loup.
Rodrigues and Suny Du Loup dictated the pace early before rallying to win from Nisren Mahgoub’s Snan and Chavez by half-a-length.