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Age no bar for evergreen ‘Eddie’

Dubai: If you ever wanted to know how some horses maintain top-level form well into their middle years, look no further than trainer Doug Watson’s classy vintage model race horse Barbecue Eddie

When most of his age would have gladly settled into retirement, ‘Eddie’, a ripe ten-year-old, is being prepared for his sixth season in the UAE. A programme much similar to last years’ awaits Watson’s stable star and will see him contest some of the top mile races in the Dubai World Cup Carnival culminating in another shot at the $1 million Godolphin Mile (G2)

Just how old is too old is a critical question that has often been asked with most elder horses being dispatched to the retirement barns even before the answer is forthcoming.

Not ‘Eddie’, the Stormy Atlantic gelding who has long been held in high regard by the three-time champion trainer Watson.

“He’s a real star in the yard,” Watson told the ERA website. “He will be brought out before the Dubai World Cup Carnival. He will be carrying the Group 2 penalty of course but there is a Conditions race on December 19 where we can get him started and then we will be looking at the Al Maktoum Challenge R1 again.

“That will see him backing up in three weeks, which might be a little tough for him. He’s really in great form though and we will see how he is after his run and make plans after that.”

Bred in Maryland , Barbecue Eddie is out of the Carson City mare The Green Owl. After being purchased by Brian Koriner for $55,000 at the 2006 Ocala Breeders’ Sale Co. two-year-olds in training sale he placed five times in Graded Stakes races in the US including the 2007 Ancient Title Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita Park.

Barbecue Eddie was acquired by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, at the end of 2008 and transferred to Watson’s championship winning Red Stables where he made an unceremonious UAE debut in the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint at Nad Al Sheba in 2009, where he finished ninth to Saudi Arabia-trained Big City Man.

Four more defeats would follow at Nad Al Sheba and Jebel Ali before Barbecue Eddie opened his UAE account with a thumping victory over South African hope Imbogni on the all-new Tapeta track at the iconic Meydan racecourse.

The performance confirmed him to be at his best on the synthetic surface, where he would post seven more victories including round one of the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge in January 2013.

That victory completed a four-win streak and earned the nine-year-old a place in the Godolphin Mile, where he finished ninth to Soft Falling Rain on a surface that was riding slow and may have contributed to his downfall.

Watson’s confirmation that Barbecue Eddie will remain in training and will be targeted at Meydan’s top mile races will surely buoy most UAE racing fans who have taken him heart.

“It’s going to be an interesting season,” said Watson. “We have some nice horses to look forward to and some decent types coming in.”

Barbecue Eddie could be the flag-bearer for this brigade should he succeed in rolling back the years.