25 February 2020, Meydan, UAE ~ All the cards are on the table for Byerley Racing’s American G1 winner RB Texas Hold Em, making his UAE debut on Thursday, 27 February 2020 at the Meydan Racecourse Group 1 $100,000 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 for Purebred Arabians.
Against what looks to be a top-class field, the son of T M Fred Texas seeks to replicate his sire, that used graded Delaware Park company en route to success in Meydan’s top Arabian affair, the $1 million Dubai Kahayla Classic (G1). T M Fred Texas (below) won the 2011 Delaware Park Arabian Classic Handicap (G1) prior to winning the 2012 Dubai Kahayla Classic, while his son won the Delaware Park Arabian Derby (G2) when last seen in July. One month prior, RB Texas Hold Em got his top-level score in the President of the United Arab Emirates (G1) at Churchill Downs.
“When I got him, the owner said ‘take your time,’ with the main goal obviously being the Kahayla Classic (on Dubai World Cup night),” said Doug Watson, who has taken over training of the grey gelding. “I’ll be disappointed if we don’t win, but I’d be okay to finish in the first three or four and then go on to the Kahayla. He’s a cheeky sort, but he’s very talented in his work. If you watched his last two races in America, he looks like a nice horse. I hope we stack up against them and he runs well. He hasn’t run in a while.”
The 5-year-old was sent to Red Stables three months ago, but had been in the country a few months prior to acclimatize. Unbeaten in his last four efforts, the six-time winner from 11 starts has finished out the top three only once. Watson has been successful in past Al Maktoum Challenges, winning with the likes of another USA import, American Arabian Triple Crown winner Paddy’s Day. While he has never won a Dubai Kahayla Classic, Watson did finish second in 2005 with Al Saoudi.
“In the past, I think we’ve won maybe 11 Maktoum Challenges, but we just haven’t had many (Arabians) in a while,” Watson continued. “He worked a lot like the good ones, if not better, but it’s hard to tell until you get over there.
“He’s fully acclimated, his coat looks good and he’s fresh and well,” Watson concluded. “He ran under the lights at Churchill Downs, so I don’t have to worry about that. You just worry a little bit that he hasn’t run in a while, but he’s got the (120) rating, Grade 1 wins and is a proper horse.”