The Dubai World Cup Carnival see’s the local trainers take on the International training Juggernaut’s of Godolphin and the American Doug Watson. We profile those to keep an eye on as they attempt more Meydan success this Dubai World Cup Carnival season
Charlie Appleby was responsible for 22 of the 41 turf race winners at the 2019 carnival. Appleby has the luxury of giving some of his bluebloods a light European campaign with the aim of getting them at their peak in the desert. Ispolini, Spotify, Mubtasim and On The Warpath all won here last term and they have been run sparingly In the interim. It is worth noting that Appleby’s dominance is more pronounced in the middle distance and staying categories, with 11 of the 14 races run over 9 furlongs or more going the way of the Godolphin maestro last year.
Satish Seemar has been among the top domestic trainers ever since racing began in the UAE. Over the years, Seemar has been a reliable source of carnival winners with the legendary Reynaldothewizard being the brightest star to be conditioned at Zabeel Stables. North America was imperious in rounds one and two of the Al Maktoum challenge last season but a burst blood vessel did for him in the Dubai World Cup. He will be a major force again if he is in similar form but Seemar will hold a very strong hand in the nine dirt handicaps. Lavaspin and Beachcomber Bay are sprinters to keep onside and Yulong Warrior is back at Zabeel after a stint in America. Harpocrates could make his mark in the 3yo classics after joining from Aidan O’Brien while Bopedro has plenty of upside, he was a smart sort in handicaps for Jim Bolger in Ireland. The big ticket addition to the Seemar ranks is US G3 winner Gladiator King, he goes firmly into the “could be anything” category.
Doug Watson’s 2019 carnival was hit and miss in many respects. Drafted and Muntazah got on the scoresheet twice, cementing themselves as the standard bearers of their respective divisions. The US contenders did have their measure on world cup night but that pair could well dominate in the regular carnival races again. Watson had high hopes for Cosmo Charlie and Kimbear but both horses struggled to make an impact on their respective targets. The latter struggled with foot issues for most of last season by he looks to be back to something approaching his best judging by his display when 2nd in the Listed Creek Mile on Dec 19th. Midnight Sands is held in the highest regard at Red Stables, that one is has won three times in four starts in the UAE. Like all top trainers, Watson has strengthened his team in the offseason. Canvassed is a classy operator, he joined from Roger Varian while Three Weeks is a progressive son of Tapit that should be a nice new weapon for Watson to go to war with in handicaps. Switzerland was campaigned here last season by US trainer Steve Asmussen. He was well touted but performed with little substance. Doug Watson could well be the man to revive his fortunes.
Ahmad Bin Harmash
Walking Thunder was one of an extremely strong crop of juveniles trained by Ahmad Bin Harmash last season. The keen going son of Violence showed blistering speed on his seasonal return in the Garhoud Sprint. He faded into fourth place late on but with that run under his belt we should see a better horse at the carnival. Some of the other stars handled by Bin Harmash include the winner of the Meydan Classic Golden Jaguar and Al Bastakiya runner-up Superior. All these colts will be fine-tuned for carnival targets with the former a candidate to benefit from the addition of headgear at some stage. New Trails will once again embark on the Dubai World Cup trail where he likely to pay his way. Pennsylvania Dutch looks a natural dirt performer; he has been a shrewd acquisition while Famous Wolf has joined Bin Harmash from Andre Fabre. That one was a listed winner in France and was an expensive purchase at Arqana in July.