Dubai-based trainer Doug Watson says he is hopeful of racing the enigmatic Pakistan Star again after the eight-year-old suffered a minor foot injury, ruling him out of the lucrative carnival.
The Hong Kong-owned dual Group One winner had one start on the dirt for Watson in December but has not been sighted since, with the handler saying they took an abundance of caution with the son of Shamardal.
While Watson will saddle up 10 runners on Super Saturday at Meydan, he says he cannot help but think what might have been if he was able to get Pakistan Star to the races.
“I would not have gone to a race with a horse of that calibre in a long time,” he said.
“He has had a little bit of a foot injury, it is nothing too serious but it was serious enough to have to stop.
“He was flying along, we wanted to run him on the turf in one of the first races of the carnival, his work was super.
“It’s not career-ending hopefully, he has been really fun to train and it would be great to try him at least once on the turf over here. The horse is as happy as Larry here and he is doing fine.”
After travelling well during his Dubai debut in December, Pakistan Star was left wanting in the straight which Watson puts down to his 12-month lay-off between runs.
“His morning work was extraordinary so there was nothing that got him off the bridle, so when he got there in the race he flattened out a bit,” he said.
“I have learned a bit for next time when we have him first-up again, we will make him do a little bit more over at Meydan and all of that.”
With many trainers using Super Saturday as a launching pad for World Cup night in three weeks time, Watson thinks it is perfect opportunity for local handlers to strike before the influx of top-rated horses from abroad.
“For domestic trainer here, this is our World Cup, that is how we look at it,” he said. “We will run on the Word Cup night but our best chance to win some nice races is on Super Saturday.”
Watson’s best chance of the night comes in the Group Three Mahab Al Shimaal (1,200m), where he saddles up Canvassed and Premier Star.
While he has struck a horror draw with Canvassed, he believes the talented speedster has the speed to put himself in the race.
“We have so many chances, we were disappointed with a few draws however. We were really keen on Canvas – and still do – but those wide draws are difficult,” he said.
“He has a heap of early and natural speed, we won’t have to push them along to get them there so hopefully Pat [Dobbs] can get him in a nice spot where we don’t loose too much ground on the turn.”