ABU DHABI // Doug Watson believes Quite A Show can live up to his name and clinch the UAE Arabian Derby today, one of the prizes that is missing from the American champion trainer's trophy cabinet. The colt is one of the four fancied entries in the 10-runner field, an 11-furlong event with prestige status in tonight's six-race card at Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club.
"He has not done the distance, but on level terms in the weights and with the benefit of a run, he has a great chance in the race," said Watson. Quite A Show arrived with the exemplary record of having won all his three starts at Delaware Park in the USA, but could finish only third on his local debut, conceding nearly five kgs to the winner Sahib Du Clos and the runner-up Samira de Carrere. Sahib Du Clos, from Saifaldin Deeb's yard, is absent from today's field, but the Umm Al Quwaim-based Lebanese trainer still saddles a double with Bierton Belle (sixth in that race) and Shayea, making his local debut and the one horse Watson thinks has the potential danger to his colt.
"Shayea is the one to beat in this field," said Watson. "He carries some decent form from Europe. "He has not won but there are reports to suggest he has strong claims in this race. And he comes from a yard that is in great form. "We don't get too many juvenile Arabians and with Quite A Show we would expect to have a pretty decent one to win a prize we haven't won. We have had good success with our Arabians and it would be nice win this juvenile prize for Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid."
Deeb is enjoying an excellent season and returns to Abu Dhabi after last week's victory in the Dh1million President's Cup with Jarnin, who scored on his local debut for the owner Sheikh Mansour. Shayea seems to be carrying similar hopes tonight. Samira De Carrere, having made a winning local debut, was beaten in her next start when Sahib Du Clos reversed the placing. The Djouras Tu filly, under the Argentine Jesus Rosales, Rod Simpson's Seraphin Du Paon, ridden by Daragh O'Donohoe, and Deeb's pair of Shayea, under Tadhg O'Shea, and Bierton Belle, piloted by Royston Ffrench, carry the challenge to the Richard Hills-ridden Quite A Show.
The preceding event, the Fillies Classic for local breds, is a rematch between Sama Du Dhabi, Raeaa W'rsan and Jawhara Al Reef. The trio last raced against each other in the Abu Dhabi Fillies Classic on December 20 when Michael Kettle's Sama Du Dhabi won her only career start in good style, coming in with a late run to triumph by half-a-length from Raeaa W'rsan, who has run twice since. However, Jawhara Al Reef comes strongly into the picture after her convincing win in a maiden a fortnight ago.