David Marnane leads the Irish challenge at the Dubai Carnival on Thursday afternoon,with the Co Tipperary trainer saddling two runners at the Meydan track.
Writing on his website this morning, Marnane is hopeful of both his runners performing to their best: “We are having our first runners of the year today when Nocturnal Affair and Dandy Boy run at Meydan, the opening meeting of the Dubai Carnival, live on ATR and Racing UK. The latter, owned by Malih Al Basti, the yard’s principal patron, bids for back-to-back victories in the seven-furlong $110,000 handicap on turf. Twelve months ago, Dandy Boy put up a stunning performance, slamming a decent field and in the process setting a new track record. The victory provided us with a fairytale return to Dubai, having worked for over eight years with Kiaran McLaughlin and Doug Watson at Red Stables.
To be ridden by Colm O’Donoghue, Dandy Boy races off a 2lb lower mark and faces 15 rivals, including old rival Hujaylea who chased him home twelve months ago. The Ryan Moore-ridden Moran Gra, trained by Joanna Morgan, completes the Irish challenge. Dandy Boy pleased us when working on turf at the training track at Meydan on Sunday morning, showing his wellbeing under Colm. Remarkably Dandy Boy has drawn stall 11, the same gate he jumped from when successful last year – so hopefully the omens are good.
Stable companion Nocturnal Affair, winner of the Portland Handicap and the Listed Mercury Stakes, will be first into action when he runs in the five-furlong handicap, over the straight turf course. The South African-bred gelding, like Dandy Boy, has settled in well at Meydan and is in good order ahead of his first start of the season. He’ll appreciate the expected strong pace and hopefully can give a good account in a competitive event”.