Godolphin Ready for Keeneland
Watershed returns to racing on dirt and drops back down in trip in the G3 Ben Ali Stakes (16.24hrs local time) over nine furlongs at Keeneland, USA, on Saturday, April 15.
The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained five-year-old was denied a clear run when a close ninth in a blanket finish to the G2 Mac Diarmida Stakes over a mile and three furlongs on turf at Gulfstream Park on March 4.
All 12 of his other starts have been on dirt and the son of Bernardini has gained three victories on the surface, including a comprehensive win in a Gulfstream Park allowance optional claimer over an extended mile in January and an easy seven-furlong allowance race success on his only previous visit to Keeneland in 2015.
He has also shown a good level of form in graded company on dirt, finishing third in G3 contests at Monmouth and Meydan, UAE, last year.
Paco Lopez, who rode Watershed in the Mac Diarmida Stakes, takes the mount again and the pair meet seven rivals including G1 Stephen Foster Handicap runner-up Eagle and recent G3 scorer Bird Song. Watershed is drawn in stall three.
Kiaran McLaughlin reported: AWatershed is doing well. We tried him on turf last time and he ran well, but he is better on the dirt.
This is a wide-open race and all the horses have similar form. It looks like there is a good shape to the race, with three or four speed horses, which could set it up for Watershed to close off a decent pace.