All-Weather racing has been a good friend to young trainer Archie Watson – one of the brightest emerging talents in the country. He saddled his first ever winner just weeks after taking out a license when Ride The Lightning won a Kempton handicap last October, and more success quickly followed, writes Simon Mapletoft.
William Haggas’s former assistant achieved Listed success on Polytrack just a few months later with star mare Absolute Blast, who finished second in the Easter Classic on Good Friday after winning the Magnolia Stakes at Kempton.
And as the 50th winner from his historic Saxon Gate Stables in Lambourn approaches, Watson is preparing multiple All-Weather-winning two-year-old Corinthia Knight for a crack at the Breeders’ Cup – as well as the 3YO Sprint Final on Good Friday.
“It’s been an unbelievable year,” he tells me. “The All-Weather got us noticed and gave us the opportunity to build up some momentum through the winter. Since then things have gone from strength to strength.
“The All-Weather really suits my horses. I don’t know if it’s something to do with the way we train but it benefits strong travelling types that like to sit close to the lead and I have quite a few of them.”
Watson, who gained experience Stateside with Graham Motion and Simon Callaghan and in South Africa with top trainer Alec Laird before spending four years with Haggas, has certainly got the taste for top level success on the All-Weather.
He is targeting the £1 million Finals Day with Petite Jack and Brandon Castle, as well as Corinthia Knight, and plans to further strengthen his winter team with potential star recruits at the forthcoming Autumn Sales.
Here Watson, who grew up in Lambourn, runs the rule over his main All-Weather Championships contenders.