Thursday evening was Winter Racing Challenge Finals’ night at Nad Al Sheba with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum present at a six race card, kindly sponsored by Commercial Bank of Dubai and highlighted by three valuable handicaps – the Finals. Six horses had earned the right to contest each of these prizes by accumulating points throughout the season and faced quality opposition in the shape of a plethora of Carnival-rated horses.

It was one of the latter group who won the 1600m Final which went the way of the Mike De Kock-trained Brave Tin Soldier in the hands of Kevin Shea. Never far off the pace, Shea kicked for home two furlongs out and the pair ran on well to land the spoils.

Shea said: “I was always happy and he picked up nicely when I asked him. It was a nice performance and a nice return to Dubai as I only landed on Sunday morning.”

However, it was Champion Trainer Doug Watson who stole the training plaudits and in the following 2000m Final he saddled the 1-2-3, led home by Lucky Ray who battled on gamely to deny stable companion Clasp. Daragh O’Donohoe was on the winner and the pair were registering a third course and distance win this season, while stablemate Dynamic Saint ran on to take third.

Watson was delighted: “What a result for the whole team and congratulations to Daragh for riding a perfect race. The runner-up has run a great race also and Dynamic Saint was perhaps a bit unlucky as he endured traffic problems.”

Stable jockey Fernando Jara was in the saddle on Force Freeze in the concluding 1200m Final as the four-year-old gelding made a winning debut locally – having shown some decent form in America. Always prominent behind a fast pace, Jara hit the front just under halfway and the pair ran on strongly to crown a great night for Watson’s Red Stables.

Racing opened with a 1400m Purebred Arabian handicap which was won in determined fashion by Offrande Ducroate, trained by Mohd Muhanad Gharib and ridden by Keagan Latham.

The following 2000m novice stakes was won by Moonquake who was a first winner for Ahmad Ajtebi since losing his apprentice status last Friday, while Richard Hills then won the 1500m handicap on Ali Rashid Al Raihe’s Estihdaaf.