The 2018/19 UAE season was somewhat of a breakout campaign for Connor Beasley. His power packed driving finishes became a common sight at many of the biggest Meydan fixtures. This was his first season as number one rider for up-and-coming trainer Ahmad Bin Harmash, 32 winners was the final total but importantly, five of those victories came at the Dubai Carnival.
One would be forgiven for thinking that Walking Thunder’s demolition job in the UAE 2000 Guineas Trial would be Beasley’s highlight, but the County Durham native believes that his first carnival winner was the most important.
“Every winner was special but Another Batt was a great winner to get because he really got the ball rolling for me and it all kind of snowballed from there really.”
New Trails, Rodaini and Golden Jaguar were Beasley’s other big winners in 2019 and they will all be back, giving the 25 year-old some solid ammunition to go to war with.
“Everything clicked last season, Ahmad is a good man to ride for. Everyone wants to have carnival winners because they are the ones that people remember. We have a strong team of horses and I hope we can get this carnival off to a fast start.”
The Bin Harmash yard have been quiet in recent weeks, in fact, they haven’t sent out a winner since November 11th. Beasley is adamant that there is no cause for concern.
“The horses have been slow to come to hand but the carnival preparations are going very well. Plenty of horses have run well while just hitting the crossbar. Our next winner is just around the corner.”
Beasley bagged 29 winners during a fruitful summer riding in England and struck up some useful partnerships along the way, riding winners for powerful yards like that of Keith Dalgleish and Mark Johnston.
“It wasn’t my best season in England. Arriving back there late after the season finishes in Dubai makes it tough. I got loads of rides initially but I kept finishing second. Once the wheels started turning, things were good. Keith Dalgleish has always been a big supporter of mine and it was good to ride him a few winners. Mark Johnson is a phenomenal trainer and I received some nice opportunities from him which is important.”
Dakota Gold was the standout performer for Beasley’s stint in England. The Michael Dodds trained 6yo won five times including twice at listed level.
“He is a great little horse. I served my apprenticeship with Mr. Dodds and I ride out for him twice a week when in England so it’s great to repay the faith he has shown in me. This horse won on some of those big Saturday meetings, which is hugely important because that is where people notice your talents.”
The 2020 Dubai Carnival kicks off on Thursday evening and Connor gives us the lowdown on the stars that he will be on-board in the coming months.
Walking Thunder – 4yo Colt (Violence)
“This horse is a real ball of fire, he has so much speed. We tried all of last season to get him to settle in order to stay the UAE Derby trip. This season we are going to let him use that speed. He was very fresh in the Garhoud Sprint so we are hoping that he will switch off a bit better in the Dubawi Stakes (Thursday).”
New Trails – 6yo Gelding (Medaglia D’Oro)
“He was very lightly raced when he came to us but he did nothing but improve. He climbed 19 pounds in the handicap ratings and he ended up having a taxing campaign. His comeback in the Entisar Stakes was good and that should have left him spot on for Carnival week 1.”
Golden Jaguar – 4yo Colt (Animal Kingdom)
“He is very high maintenance but is a proper racehorse. He can be tricky at the gates but lots of work has gone into him at home. His latest run when second at Abu Dhabi was very pleasing.”
Superior – 4yo Colt (Majestic Perfection)
“He gave me a good spin in the UAE Derby in March. He is training away nicely and has a number of targets at the carnival.”
Pennsylvania Dutch – 5yo Gelding (Dutch Art)
“He has had two very encouraging runs and has done everything right except winning. He faces the kickback well and should make his mark before the season is done”
Rodaini – 5yo Gelding (Exchange Rate)
“Tough and consistent type. He rarely runs out of the prize money. We felt that he was a 7 furlong specialist but his run In the Dubai Creek Mile proves that he stays a mile well now. He is a nice horse to have around”
Dukhan – 5yo Gelding (Teofilo)
“He took quite a while to acclimatize but his form for Hugo Palmer in 2018 was very smart. We are still finding our way with him and his run on Thursday will be a fact finding mission.”
Famous Wolf – 4yo Gelding (Kendargent)
“He has been gelded since arriving in Dubai. He will be targeted at some of the middle distance races and he has a similar profile to New Trails. This is a nice recruit to the stable.”
Woodditton – 5yo Gelding (Dark Angel)
“He has always shown quality at home. It takes a good horse to do what he did on debut and we have taken our time and minded him in the interim. He will be campaigned like a good horse, we think he is very good”.