Dubai: It was a sweet second triumph in as many years as champion trainer Doug Watson opened the Dubai World Cup evening by winning the $1 million G2 Godolphin Mile with outsider Second Summer on a cool and wet Meydan racetrack on Saturday.
The five-year-old son of Summer Bird, with Patrick Dobbs on board, came with a late run to deny German raider Ross and American hope Sharp Azteca on the line. PNC Menon, Co-Chairman, Meydan Sobha and Founder of Sobha Group, presented the trophy to the winning combination of Watson and Dobbs.
Much was expected from favourite North America, a winner of four races this season, who was expected to win from the extremely talented US raider Sharp Azteca.
While the Satish Seemar-trained North America posed an early challenge together with Salem Bin Ghadayer’s Heavy Metal and Hugo Palmer’s Gifted Master, Sharp Azteca was not going to be left behind as the Jorge Navarro-trained colt threw down the gauntlet.
Approaching the final furlong and a half, Edgard Zayas made his move aboard the American challenger, but Dobbs found a gap on the rails to win by a neck ahead of Ross — leaving Sharp Azteca in third.
Until about exactly a year ago, Watson had never won a race on Dubai World Cup night. All that had changed with the UAE champion trainer’s One Man Band under Sam Hitchcott leading a one-two-three finish for the Red Stables in the Godolphin Mile.
This time, an injured Watson, with his hand out of the sling, was thrilled and delighted with the unexpected win through Second Summer. “If you had asked me ten minutes back if he was going to win, I would have just smiled. I really didn’t expect this. I simply loved the way he came home so nicely,” Watson said.
“This is simply so fantastic for the entire team. During the course of the season we have not been the happiest lot after losing a few of our horses. But then it’s really so nice to have him bounce back and take a great win,” he added.
In fact, the Shaikh Rashid Bin Humaid Al Nuaimi-owned Second Summer was scheduled to run in the main Dubai World Cup race, but Watson decided to switch over to the Godolphin Mile. “He didn’t come out of the last race in very good shape. He wasn’t too bad but we knew that’s why he didn’t run his race. At the same time we were so confident going into third leg but didn’t run in. Once we saw him come out of it alright we knew he wouldn’t get into World Cup off a 1-11, and once we saw Arrogate was coming we decided to step back,” Watson explained.
Dobbs was pleased with the way his ride responded. “He’s a tough chap and was so very easy to handle. Going past the third furlong, he felt so confident that I decided to just step back and allow him to go,” the jockey said.
“This win is fantastic for the horse and it is great to have him back into the game,” he added.