Moviesta: part-owned by football manager Harry RedknappPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Irish pair face strong local challenge in sprint
IRELAND have two chances in the 6f dirt feature on the second night of the Dubai Carnival, but the Eddie Lynam-trained Moviesta and Mick Halford's Wild Dude are set face a strong local challenge.
Winner of the race in each of the last two years (and in its previous guise in 2013), the 11-year-old Reynaldothewizard has been an amazing servant to the Satish Seemar yard having also won the Group 1 Golden Shaheen in 2013.
Fourth in the Golden Shaheen when last seen in March, he won this after a longer break 12 months ago and will again be ridden by Richard Mullen.
"He seems in the same kind of form as he was coming into this race last year when he probably surprised us a bit as he tends to improve from his first run. Hopefully he can go close in an open contest," said Mullen.
The 2016 Golden Shaheen was won by the Musabbeh Al Mheiri-trained Muarrab, second to Reynaldothewizard in this race two years ago, and he will be ridden by owner Hamdan Al Maktoum's new retained jockey Jim Crowley.
The British champion jockey said: "I'm really looking forward to riding him and his form is in the book. He has a big chance."
Crowley's mount was second on his seasonal return over course and distance behind My Catch, whose trainer Doug Watson saddles Desert Force in this race.
Desert Force has been an emphatic winner on his two most recent starts, both over seven furlongs, and looks highly progressive.
Watson said: "We wanted to try him at six furlongs or over a mile so we can plan ahead with him and this looked a great spot to try the sprint trip. He's in great shape and it will be interesting to see how he goes in this."
Lynam's Moviesta, part-owned by Harry Redknapp, has never run on dirt but is bred to go on the surface and has proved at Dundalk that a tight, left-handed sprint track suits him.
Lynam said: "He seems happy on the surface but you never know until they race on it. He seems in good order."
Moviesta's most recent victory was in a 6f Dundalk handicap last August when he was chased home by The Happy Prince, then trained by Aidan O'Brien.
Now with Macau-based trainer James Moore, The Happy Prince lines up here after an excellent second on his stable debut in a 5f turf handicap at Meydan last week.
Wild Dude, a dual Grade 1 winner in America, failed to handle the sand surface in Korea on his first start for Halford, who said: "It was deep sand that day as opposed to the dirt surface he was used to.
Meydan should suit him much better and it's exciting to have a genuine dirt horse."