Polar River (Congrats), the winner of the G3 UAE Oaks last week as well as the Listed UAE 1000 Guineas at Meydan Feb. 11, is unlikely to travel to the U.S. for the GI Kentucky Oaks in May, according to trainer Doug Watson. The conditioner, however, did not rule out a trip to the States for the ‘TDN Rising Star’ in the summer.
“She will have had five races since the beginning of December and shipping her all the way out there, I think that would be too much for her,” Watson explained. “Besides, there’s a horse running in the Kentucky Oaks, Songbird, who looks an absolute freak and we’d find it tough against her. It would be a shame if she did well in the [G2 UAE Derby Mar. 26] to end her year there, though, so I wouldn’t rule out taking her to America in June for something like the [GI] Acorn S.”
Watson said a trip to Europe is not on the agenda.
“We did have dreams about things like that when she was younger, but she’s a dirt filly and is bred for the dirt so that wouldn’t happen,” he said.
Prior to Thursday Polar River had won her three starts by a combined 31 1/4 lengths, but the margin was just three-quarters of a length Thursday. Her stamina was called into question by some after that performance but Watson, a former assistant to Kiaran McLaughlin, noted Polar River hadn’t had a straightforward preparation for the Oaks.
“We didn’t have a great prep with her–she had a few niggling problems and also had a tooth removed–so we were obviously happy she won. I think she is a worthy favourite for the Derby from what she has done. She loves the track around there and we know she stays fine. We are very high on her and she’s definitely the best I’ve trained.”