April 02, 20014, Chengdu ~ UAE based racehorse trainer Doug Watson and jockey Royston Ffrench met members of the local media at Jinma Racecourse in the Wenjiang District of the Garden City of Chengdu on Thursday morning, when both expressed their delight at the prospect of taking part in the groundbreaking China race day on Sunday 6 April.
Watson, whose eight intended runners are spread among the five turf races that make up the program
, told a group of around 35 press and broadcast journalists from Chengdu and Wenjiang: “This is my first visit to the track and although I knew the facilities such as the stables and the racecourse would be good, they have surpassed my expectations.”
Ffrench, who has a ride in each race, including four for the Grandstand Stables of Ali Rashid Al Raihe, added: “I have been here for a few days and the facilities are fantastic. The horses arrived fit and have been training well, and I am really looking forward to the races on Sunday.”
Like most other representatives from the UAE who have travelled for the special event, Watson and French are first-time visitors to China, where the inaugural Chengdu Dubai International Cup raceday represents a partnership between the Meydan Group and the Chengdu Municipal Government,the Chengdu Sports Bureau, the Wenjiang District Government and China Guangsha Group.
Watson said: “The organisers have done a great job, especially with the stable block, which is on two levels. All the horses seem to have settled in well and are in good health. It was amazing to see them looking out from the top windows, as if they didn’t have a care in the world.”
French added: “I have ridden around the world for 17 years and the facilities here compare very favourably with anything I’ve seen.”
The race meeting’s five turf races, which are being contested by horses prepared by Dubai Racing Club trainers and ridden by UAE-based jockeys, will climax with the Chengdu Dubai International Cup over 2200m and also feature the Wenjiang Meydan Classic over 1600m both presented by Longines.
The other races are the Wenjiang Sprint (1200m), Guangsha Handicap (1400m) and Meydan Mile (1600m).
Prize-money details will be announced on Friday.
The race meeting is being organized by the Meydan Group, under Emirates Racing Authority rules, in partnership with the Chengdu Municipal Government, the Chengdu Sports Bureau, the Wenjiang District Government and the Guangsha Construction Group.