Quip And Liam's Legend To Join Watson Yard

DRC Notes Vol. 40 | Dubai Racing Club News & Features | November 18, 2019

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Two high-profile former trainees of USA-based Rodolphe Brisset (pictured above left) are on their way to Dubai to join six-time UAE champion trainer Doug Watson’s Red Stables. Multiple Grade 2 winner Quip (pictured above) and recent sale topper Liam’s Legend have entered quarantine in Florida and are expected in Meydan’s quarantine facility in mid-December to point toward the Dubai World Cup Carnival for the recent history-making, card-sweeping conditioner.

“When we saw that Quip was available to buy, we were pretty excited about that,” Watson said. “He’s obviously a talented and accomplished horse, but he looked like he could have used a break in his last race at Churchill and if the break helped him, he’ll be all the better for over here in Dubai. The one thing is that I know he can probably get into the Godolphin Mile on rating, but we’ll also obviously look at the Dubai World Cup with a horse like him because he’s won at nine furlongs.”

A son of heralded stallion Distorted Humor, Quip was previously owned by breeder WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing. In 11 lifetimes starts, the bay 4-year-old colt has four wins, including two Grade 2 affairs, the Tampa Bay Derby in 2018 and this year’s Oaklawn Handicap over 1800m. The earner of $1,056,951 was also second in the Arkansas Derby (G1) and Stephen Foster (G2) and was last seen finishing off the board in Churchill Downs’ Lukas Classic (G3) in September. He was privately purchased by HH Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, who also has G3 winner and fellow American import Kimbear with Watson.

“He had time off at WinStar and just arrived into quarantine in Ocala with Dave Scanlon,” Watson said. “He just started jogging before heading there and will begin galloping in Ocala and come here. I think we’ll look at one or two spots for him to return—either the Firebreak (G3) over a mile (on Feb. 13) or the Al Maktoum Challenge Round (G2) over 1900m (on Feb. 6). I think he should be ready to go in one of those and those are realistic goals. He’s joined by Liam’s Legend and Moshaher.”

Like Quip, previously Brisset-conditioned Liam’s Legend (pictured above) made himself known with a sharp late-October Keeneland juvenile maiden score. The attractive grey colt (pictured above) was sold for $325,000 on Nov. 12 to Saudi Arabian owner Khalid Mishref, topping the racing stock portion of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. He was previously owned by Niall Brennan, Michael Ryan and Mike Anderson Racing and returned to the work tab two days prior to his sale with a sharp 800m drill in 48 flat.

“For me, the one thing I really liked about Liam’s Legend is he hit the front and was going away and that was a nine-furlong race,” Watson said. “I know it was on a sloppy track, but I believe he probably would have won like that either way and it shows that he wants to stay the trip, which is key here when the distances get longer in races like the UAE Derby. We will try to make the UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) with him and I’m sure his owner will probably want to run in the new Saudi race for 3-year-olds before the UAE Derby. You don’t win at Keeneland in a 2-year-old maiden if you’re not pretty good, so I’m very happy to have him.”

Moshaher was a promising 3-year-old for Watson and H & B last season, airing on debut in January before faltering with a sixth in the UAE 2000 Guineas and 10th in the Al Bastakiya (Listed). Sent to America, he made two unplaced starts for Watson’s old boss, Kiaran McLaughlin, but now returns to Dubai after a change of equipment.

“When we get him here, we’ll give him a little break and I don’t want to do much with him at all,” Watson said. “Luckily the handicaps will likely be kind to him and he was gelded while he was over there, which should help. He was really fractious in the gate and kind of lost his way after that first big win. He’s talented and I hope to have him going by February and be a horse for the future.”

As far as racing this week, Watson expressed confidence in the preparation of Kildare Stud’s Cosmo Kramer, a good-looking son of Munnings who finished fifth on debut on Oct. 24. He also expressed confidence in Kaur Sekrekov’s oft-reliable Thegreatcollection, EERC’s in-form Tradesman and talented Sheikh Mohd Obaid Al Maktoum’s transfer Canvassed on a night that falls two weeks after he astonishingly won all six races before the mighty Meydan Grandstand.

CROSS COUNTER TARGETS GOLD CUP DEFENCE

Reigning $1.5 million Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors (G2) title holder Cross Counter will remain in training for his 5-year-old season in 2020 and trainer Charlie Appleby has confirmed that the Godolphin colour-bearer is set to arrive in Dubai to winter on Tuesday morning, Nov. 19. The 2018 Melbourne Cup (G1) winner exits a failed defence of said Down Under title, but did not disappoint in his effort.

“The horses are travelling back from Melbourne and obviously we’re delighted with Cross Counter’s run there,” Appleby said. “He had a lot of traffic problems throughout the race, but once he got into the clear, he ran on strongly and we were very pleased with that under that top weight.

“We’ll try to stick to the same program as we did this year,” Appleby continued. “He’ll arrive back in Dubai and get a break and his target will once again be on (Dubai) World Cup night for the (Dubai) Gold Cup. We look forward to that. He has his well-deserved holiday now and we’ll start preparation in late January toward what will hopefully be a repeat performance of last year.”

Following his popular victory in the 3200m Dubai Gold Cup, Cross Counter clashed with the top stayers in the world in Europe, including the mighty Stradivarius, whom he chased home when fourth in the Ascot Gold Cup (G1) over a gruelling 4000m and a fine third in the Goodwood Cup (G1) in July. After a disappointing fourth in the Irish St Leger (G1) when the running of the race did not suit him, he finished a close-up eighth in the Melbourne Cup.
In 13 lifetime starts, the homebred son of Teofilo has six wins and earnings of more than $4.4 million.

IN BRIEF: Doug Watson has reported that HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s 2019 DWC Carnival winner Ekhtiyaar (pictured above) may try the dirt as an experiment in December. Out of a Giant’s Causeway mare, the son of Bated Breath reportedly moves well over the Red Stables’ dirt course. The Nad Al Sheba Sprint (G3) runner-up was last seen in action finishing 9th of 13 in the Al Quoz Sprint (G1)… Going into this weekend, five jockeys currently share the lead in the UAE seasonal standings with seven victories apiece: Pat Dobbs, Connor Beasley, Tadhg O’Shea, Antonio Fresu and Szczepan Mazur. Of those, Dobbs leads in prize money (about $221,000) and strike rate (29.2%) from his 24 mounts… The owners’ race is off to an exciting start as Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Shadwell blue and white are back this year in full force, matching strides with the silver and black of defending champion Khalid Khalifa Al Nabooda, garnering six victories apiece, which is double Mohd Khalifa Al Basti and HH Sheikh Mansoor bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who are tied in third… The eye-catching silks of EERC (Emirates Entertainment Racing Club) are off to an auspicious start to the season with two victories and a fifth from five starts, already equalling their win total from last season. They will try to double up with Watson-trained Oct. 24 winner Tradesman in the Longines Record Collection handicap over 1900m on Thursday… Eddie Wong Ming Chak and Wong Leung Sau Hing’s Exultant continued his march toward an intended start in March’s $6 million Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) with a stylish win in Sunday’s Jockey Club Cup (G2) at Hong Kong’s Sha Tin. Rated an impressive 119, the son of Teofilo will first attempt to defend his title in the Hong Kong Vase (G1) in three weeks’ time… 2019 Burj Nahaar (G3) runner-up and Turkish star Good Curry is reportedly coming back for the 2020 DWC Carnival… Two DWC Carnival alumni will contest the $260,000 Bahrain International Trophy in its inaugural running this Friday at Rashid Equestrian & Horse Racing Club, Aquarium and Eugenio.