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doug watson Polar River cooling off at Red Stables, located in the shadow of the city of Dubai

“This is all on the back of Polar River’s success. Satish [Seemar] bought 12, Druba [Selvaratnam] got a bunch too, Ahmad bin Harmash as well. “The racing here used to be just the Sheikhs against each other, but there’s a better mix of ownership which is very healthy for racing. “They will probably have to tweak the maidens and they’re trying to work with the trainers and get a programme down, but it’s the first year, I’m sure it will improve. “Hopefully everyone will keep sending twoyear-olds as it’s exciting for us.

The racing here used to be just the Sheikhs against each other, but there’s a better mix of ownership which is very healthy for racing

“We bought a couple in the US this summer though. There’s never been two-year-old racing as long as I’ve been here, but Polar River caused a lot of excitement last year when she raced so well. “Owner Charles Fipke sent us two homebreds, Bee Jersey and Bourbon Gleam, while Frankie O’Connor sent us three, two fillies and a colt. Valentin Bukhtoyarov and Evgeny Kappushev, who bought Polar River, have bought two or three more; they were always going to buy again though.

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“Our old vet used to say you’ll never see a trainer commit suicide with an untried two-year-old in the yard, which I never understood until now! “They’re all broke in, so we just put them in our programme. We might have to change it a little, but we’ve been fortunate as they mostly look like they’re going to be nice horses.” As for Polar River herself, Watson agrees that she has been somewhat disappointing this year. “She’s not going to be able to compete if she stays in the gate as she did the other night, so we’re going to work with her on that. She looks great physically, for her – she’s never going to be a big horse – she’s training fantastic, she hasn’t lost any of her zip. “We’re going to try her on the Turf against fillies and if she competes well there, then we’ll keep her to the end of the season and maybe get invited somewhere else, or, we might send her to the States. “She still has all the talent and they have big inviting gates in America. She’d be running in Group 2s against six other fillies, it’s not going to be big, 12-runner races. “I want to see her do well. I don’t want to diminish what she’s done already and I feel bad for her, more than us, for her last two runs, because she’s better than what we’ve

seen this season. I’d love her to win there and I think the owners are keen.’ Though Polar River had been odds-on to win the UAE Derby, it was One Man Band in the opening thoroughbred contest that gave Watson his first-ever World Cup winner last March. Not only that, but he led home Faulkner and Cool Cowboy for a 1-2-3 for the stable. “Yeah that was some night,” he remembers. “One Man Band was our first one. He was training great at the beginning of this season,

Profile for Thoroughbred Publishing

ITB_March_April 2017  

We speak to champion UAE trainer Doug Watson ahead of the Dubai World Cup, we put some data behind the Jockey Club's Kempton Park proposals,...

ITB_March_April 2017  

We speak to champion UAE trainer Doug Watson ahead of the Dubai World Cup, we put some data behind the Jockey Club's Kempton Park proposals,...