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Marnane Lays Plans for "Best Bunch of Horses" After Weather Delays Dubai Travel

Irish Trainer Saddles Three at First Meeting of 2014 Dubai World Cup Carnival

David Marnane believes the group of horses he has brought to this year’s Dubai World Cup Carnival from his native Ireland represents his strongest chances in the international race season to date.

He also suspects the inclement weather that prevented his four charges, Elleval, He’s No Saint, Jamesie and Red Dubawi from making their planned January 28 departure from the Irish winter may actually play to his advantage come raceday.

“We couldn’t get the horses out of Ireland because we’ve had some bad weather and the ferries weren’t sailing,” said the trainer who will race three out of his four charges at the opening Dubai World Cup Carnival meeting on Thursday.

“It may have been a blessing in disguise,” said Marnane, whose horses instead touched down in Dubai on Sunday. “The horses have been trained for these races but we just adjusted the timescale so that the last piece of work took place in familiar surroundings at home instead of in Dubai.

“Now we will just give them some light canters and essentially race them off the plane. Dandy Boy won like that for us in 2011 so it wasn’t the end of the world.”

Thursday will see Elleval, winner of the 2013 Meydan Classic Trial and runner-up in the Dubai World Cup-day UAE Derby start his campaign in the Listed $150,000 Singspiel Stakes over 1800m of Meydan’s turf while Jamesie will race in a 1400m all-weather handicap and Red Dubawi has a spot in the 1000m turf sprint.

“We were lucky to get the horses out when we did because the weather was bad the day preceding and the day after and we could have missed out on raceday,” said Marnane, who like all Dubai-bound Irish trainers ships his horses across the Irish Sea to connect with flights from London’s Heathrow Airport.

And there have been other hard luck stories caused by the storms currently battering Ireland and the English coast. More ferry cancelations means that a number of other Dubai-bound trainers have had to adjust their travel plans.

But Marnane’s horses are safely ensconced in Meydan’s International Quarantine Stables and raring to go. And the Tipperary man has had something of a head start when it comes to training horses for Dubai.

He spent eight years in the emirate from 1997 with stints as assistant to two former UAE Champion Trainers, Kieran McLaughlin and Doug Watson and his Temple House yard boasts a number of horses belonging to UAE-based owners.

It was in 2011 that Marnane landed his first Meydan winner with his first Dubai runner when Dandy Boy, owned by Emirati, Malih Al Basti claimed the Dolce Vita Handicap.

“Dubai has been very good to us,” said Marnane. “This will be our fourth successive season at the Carnival and we have been lucky enough to have a winner every year and made Dubai World Cup night with two of our runners when Elleval ran second in the 2013 UAE Derby and Nocturnal Affair was sixth in the Al Quoz Sprint in 2012.”

And Marnane, who will fly in for raceday along with the Lavelles who own three of his four Dubai string, is hopeful of another successful season.

“Elleval has trained very well all year,” he said. “He ran very well in Dubai last year, ending up with a second in the UAE Derby and we think he’s a better horse this year. He’s had a little break and been brought back into training. We we will start him off on the grass in the Singspiel Stakes and then look at the Al Rashidiya for him, but there is always the option of the all-weather for him. He’s a nice progressive horse and we think there’s plenty of improvement in him.”

Jamesie was last seen following stablemate, Seanie home in a Marnane-trained 1-2 at Dundalk over 1400m and his handler is confident that he will adapt well to the rigours of Dubai.

“He’s is a Kodiak like Elleval, so we think he will handle the all-weather. He’s a tough, honest horse whose in great form. He came home really well in Dundalk so we’ll start him off at 1400m and go from there,” said Marnane. “Red Dubawi was third to Balmont Mast at the Curragh in October. We got him from France fairly late to prepare for the last Dubai World Cup Carnival where he ran well but not up to scratch.

"We are much happier with him this time and we have a plan for him. He may find the 1000m a little bit sharp, but he is progressive and we wanted to start him off there."

The three-year-old He’s No Saint is the most unexposed of Marnane’s number having had only four runs, breaking his maiden in September and having one other run since then.

"He works very well at home and shows a lot of ability," said the trainer. "He was impressive when he won his maiden and we ran him back very quickly and changed tactics with him and dropped him in and it just wasn’t his run. So we gave him a break when we knew he was coming to Dubai and we may look at the Meydan Classic Trial for him this season, the same race that Elleval won last time."

Marnane, who will be travelling back and forth to Dubai during the three-month long Dubai World Cup Carnival is looking forward to getting his winter season started.

"I think this is the best bunch of horses I’ve had in Dubai,” he said. “They are well balanced string with a horse for every occasion. The great thing is that these are not massively expensive horses, but they are the genuine progressive types who do well out there. Thursday is just a place to start for us, it’s just one place on the map for us. It’s a long Carnival."