Doug Watson and Ernst Oertel's battle for UAE trainer's crown goes down to the wire

Final race meeting of the season in Al Ain looks set to decide the title

Sam Hitchcott rides Bawaasil to victory to complete a double for trainer Doug Watson at Meydan’s final meeting of the season on Thursday, April 8, 2021. Courtesy DRC
Sam Hitchcott rides Bawaasil to victory to complete a double for trainer Doug Watson at Meydan’s final meeting of the season on Thursday, April 8, 2021. Courtesy DRC

Tadhg O’Shea and Khalid Khalifa Al Naboodah picked up their UAE championship trophies for jockeys and owners respectively, but Doug Watson and Ernst Oertel must wait another day to know who is crowned the champion trainer.

Watson saddled a double in the all-thoroughbred card at Meydan on Thursday to take his tally to 40 winners, two more than his challenger Oertel who mainly trains Purebred Arabians.

Oertel will have his opportunity on Friday’s season-ending meeting at Al Ain, in which he has 19 runners across six races for Arabians while Watson has two runners in the solitary race for the thoroughbreds.

Mcmanaman made a perfect start on his debut in the UAE and Bawaasil took the next, both under Sam Hitchcock, to give Watson a quick double.

“He’s a nice young horse and we’ll put him away for the summer and he can be a find for Abu Dhabi next season,” the Red Stables trainer said of Mcmanaman after his victory on the Meydan turf.

Bawaasil was an impressive winner of the second race, also on the 1,400m distance on turf. He made smooth progress from the 400m mark to win by two and a-quarter lengths from Expressionist.

“The horse has been doing great all year but we haven’t been able to get him in when we need to, and it was a super ride from Sammy,” Watson said of the Oasis Dream gelding.

Musabah Al Muhairi and his stable jockey Antonio Fresu were on a treble on the night.

They took the fourth and sixth races with Mutaraffa and Alfareeq in the Shadwell silks while Good Tidings battled to the line to edge Al Qaqaa to deny Watson/Hitchcott in the second last race.

Salem bin Ghadayer’s Rare Ninja finally had his head in front in nine starts. The stable jockey Royston Ffrench made all on the Distorted Humor colt to win from Grand Dubai by four and-a-quarter lengths.

“This horse showed a lot of promise and finally he’s got one across the board,” the Emirati trainer said.

“He’s a young horse and I would like to think he can take a lot of confidence from this win and come back stronger next season.”

Published: April 9, 2021 11:46 AM

SHARE

Editor's Picks
NEWSLETTERS
Sign up to:

* Please select one