A dress rehearsal for the Dubai World Cup

Trainer Marnane has high hopes as form and design of track at York to suit Dandy Boy and Nocturnal Affair is well rested ahead of Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

Dandy Boy, who won the Wokingham Stakes in June, has been in good form recently. Steve Davies / Racingfotos.com
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YORK, England // Dandy Boy and Nocturnal Affair will start their preparation for the Dubai World Cup Carnival in the Nunthorpe Stakes tomorrow, whereas Ortensia may well feature for the last time on a racecourse when she lines up in the same five-furlong Group 1 race.

Trainer David Marnane has earmarked his pair for another campaign in Dubai next season and they have been restricted to only a handful of races as they gear up for Meydan next year.

Dandy Boy won the Wokingham Stakes at Royal Ascot in June on his second start in Europe since finishing seventh in the Al Fahidi Fort at Meydan in February.

He then failed to handle the appalling conditions at Newmarket in the July Cup when ninth behind Mayson, who beat Ortensia in to fourth.

"Dandy likes level, long straights and all his best form has been at Ascot and Meydan, which both have new re-laid turf," the Irish trainer said. "He has a phenomenal stride and a track like York plays to his strengths.

"York would suit him but for some reason horses find it hard to come from the back and finish well there. For starters it is a quick five furlongs and it is hard to quicken off that sort of pace."

Nocturnal Affair has had only one start since finishing sixth behind Ortensia in the Group 1 Al Quoz sprint in March and renews rivalry with the likes of Sole Power, who was second, Robert Cowell's Monsieur Joe, who was fourth, and Invisible Ash, who now shares a stable with the Australian raider at Abington Place in Newmarket. Nocturnal Affair showed lightning speed in four starts during the Dubai World Cup Carnival before running slightly flat on the world's richest race night. Marnane believes that there were good reasons for the defeat, however.

"By choice he's had a rest," he added. "In the Al Quoz we were on the wrong side of the track. They did too much early on and the complexion of the race changed very quickly.

"Ortensia and Sole Power were last and second last and Nocturnal Affair was probably a bit flat having been running since August."

Humidor also ran during the Carnival and was sixth behind Ortensia when she opened her European account at Glorious Goodwood three weeks ago and with Cowell's Spirit Quartz also being aimed at Dubai next year the Nunthorpe is a must-watch event.

Godolphin do not have a runner after they took out Soul last week but the Dubai-based operation have a fine chance of Group 1 success in America where It's Tricky runs in the Ballerina Stakes at Saratoga.

It's Tricky was also entered in Sunday's Personal Ensign Invitational, where she would have clashed with Royal Delta, the Dubai World Cup runner, but trainer Kiaran McLaughlin preferred tonight's seven-furlong contest.

It's Tricky has won her three races this season, having scored in two Grade 2 races at Aqueduct before she took the Grade 1 Ogden Phipps Handicap at Belmont Park in May.

"It's Tricky has come on a lot this year as far as her mind is concerned. She has matured a lot and filled out and is much stronger," McLaughlin said. "She's training great and is doing very well."

Meanwhile, Princess Haya was out of luck on a rain-lashed track today as Newfangled suffered a suspected fractured pelvis in the Group 2 Lowther Stakes, won by Rosdhu Queen.

Newfangled was pulled up quickly by jockey William Buick in the six-furlong contest after she repeatedly changed her legs during the opening furlong.

The filly, who won the English Derby for Princess Haya, was assessed at the racecourse stables and then transferred to a vet.

“The immediate thought is that it is not a hind leg, but a high-limb lameness, possibly a pelvis. Fingers crossed she’ll be all right,” John Ferguson, the bloodstock adviser to Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said.

Newfangled was a leading candidate for next season’s English 1000 Guineas.

Buick was out of luck again in the feature contest, the Group 1 Darley Yorkshire Oaks, when he was denied aboard The Fugue in a driving finish by Christophe Lemaire on Shareta.

Shareta finished second in last season's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe and will once again head for Longchamp on October 7.
As for The Fugue, trainer John Gosden was keen to tackle the Breeders' Cup at Santa Anita in November.

“She ran a great race. The winner is a very good filly,” he said. “I think she prefers quicker ground.”

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