Champion trainer Doug Watson has had a tremendous career in the United Arab Emirates but the veteran horseman had yet to win a race on Dubai World Cup night.
On Saturday evening at Meydan, not only did the humble American from Ohio win the Godolphin Mile sponsored by Meydan Sobha, but he swept the race by finishing first, second and third with his three runners.
“It’s an amazing feeling, said Watson. “I don’t think it will set in for a while.
First-place finisher One Man Band (IRE) is owned by H.E. Sheikh Saeed Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum and third-place finisher Faulkner (GB) is owned by H.E. Sheikh Ahmed Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum. The runner up, Cool Cowboy (USA) is owned by Zaur Sekrekov.
“The Maktoum family has given me an opportunity to train and I’m grateful for that,” said Watson. “We’ve got a great group of owners who have given us some nice horses and we are very fortunate.”
One Man Band led the field from gate to wire, benefitting not only from the scratch of Le Bernardin (USA) earlier in the day, but also from the immaturity of eventual fourth-place finisher and the international favourite, Marking (USA).
“He’s horse with an engine but he’s meant to be immature,” said jockey James Doyle of Marking. “He missed the break. He was a step slow again, but that wasn’t really the concern. We were right behind One Man Band. Once we started to turn he started to get a few scoops of kickback and he just didn’t face it and I felt I was beaten two strides.”
The winner, One Man Band, currently holds the track record at Meydan for 1600m.
“He has been in great form all season,” said Watson. “He’s won this way a lot this year. When he gets out in front and gets an easy lead he gets a big heart.”
Jockey Sam Hitchcott, who was aboard One Man Band, also earned his first victory on Dubai World Cup night.
“It means the world,” said Hitchcott, who gave much of the credit to the team. “For the yard it’s brilliant. We’ve had a great team all year round. The boys have kept the horses in great form.”
Watson was thrilled for the jockey, who was perfect in four starts aboard the winner.
“Sam is a great guy,” said Watson. “He’s great for our stable. He’s an integral part of our team with the works. He brings so much to the yard, and just his personality too. He just lights everybody up in the yard. I’m very happy for him.”
The trainer admitted confidence beforehand.
“They were all in good form, we knew that,” said Watson. “It’s hard to believe!”