Multiple Grade 2 winner Quip and recent sale topper Liam's Legend have entered quarantine in Florida and are expected in Meydan's quarantine facility in mid-December to point toward the Dubai World Cup Carnival for the recent history-making, card-sweeping conditioner.
"When we saw that Quip was available to buy, we were pretty excited about that," Watson said. "He's obviously a talented and accomplished horse, but he looked like he could have used a break in his last race at Churchill and if the break helped him, he'll be all the better for over here in Dubai. The one thing is that I know he can probably get into the Godolphin Mile on rating, but we'll also obviously look at the Dubai World Cup with a horse like him because he's won at nine furlongs."
A son of heralded stallion Distorted Humor, Quip was previously owned by breeder WinStar Farm, China Horse Club and SF Racing. In 11 lifetimes starts, the bay 4-year-old colt has four wins, including two Grade 2 affairs, the Tampa Bay Derby in 2018 and this year's Oaklawn Handicap over 1800m. The earner of $1,056,951 was also second in the Arkansas Derby (G1) and Stephen Foster (G2) and was last seen finishing off the board in Churchill Downs' Lukas Classic (G3) in September. He was privately purchased by HH Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, who also has G3 winner and fellow American import Kimbear with Watson.
"He had time off at WinStar and just arrived into quarantine in Ocala with Dave Scanlon," Watson said. "He just started jogging before heading there and will begin galloping in Ocala and come here. I think we'll look at one or two spots for him to return—either the Firebreak (G3) over a mile (on Feb. 13) or the Al Maktoum Challenge Round (G2) over 1900m (on Feb. 6). I think he should be ready to go in one of those and those are realistic goals. He's joined by Liam's Legend and Moshaher."
Like Quip, previously Brisset-conditioned Liam's Legend (pictured above) made himself known with a sharp late-October Keeneland juvenile maiden score. The attractive grey colt (pictured above) was sold for $325,000 on Nov. 12 to Saudi Arabian owner Khalid Mishref, topping the racing stock portion of the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale. He was previously owned by Niall Brennan, Michael Ryan and Mike Anderson Racing and returned to the work tab two days prior to his sale with a sharp 800m drill in 48 flat.
"For me, the one thing I really liked about Liam's Legend is he hit the front and was going away and that was a nine-furlong race," Watson said. "I know it was on a sloppy track, but I believe he probably would have won like that either way and it shows that he wants to stay the trip, which is key here when the distances get longer in races like the UAE Derby. We will try to make the UAE 2000 Guineas (G3) with him and I'm sure his owner will probably want to run in the new Saudi race for 3-year-olds before the UAE Derby. You don't win at Keeneland in a 2-year-old maiden if you're not pretty good, so I'm very happy to have him."
Moshaher was a promising 3-year-old for Watson and H & B last season, airing on debut in January before faltering with a sixth in the UAE 2000 Guineas and 10th in the Al Bastakiya (Listed). Sent to America, he made two unplaced starts for Watson's old boss, Kiaran McLaughlin, but now returns to Dubai after a change of equipment.
"When we get him here, we'll give him a little break and I don't want to do much with him at all," Watson said. "Luckily the handicaps will likely be kind to him and he was gelded while he was over there, which should help. He was really fractious in the gate and kind of lost his way after that first big win. He's talented and I hope to have him going by February and be a horse for the future."
As far as racing this week, Watson expressed confidence in the preparation of Kildare Stud's Cosmo Kramer, a good-looking son of Munnings who finished fifth on debut on Oct. 24. He also expressed confidence in Kaur Sekrekov's oft-reliable Thegreatcollection, EERC's in-form Tradesman and talented Sheikh Mohd Obaid Al Maktoum's transfer Canvassed on a night that falls two weeks after he astonishingly won all six races before the mighty Meydan Grandstand.