Dubai: Irish trainer David Marnane hopes to go one better with Elleval in the Godolphin Mile at Meydan this Saturday.
The four-year-old gelding finished second behind Lines of Battle in the UAE Derby on World Cup night last year and now enters the Godolphin Mile off the back of one win in four races at this year’s carnival.
Despite a poor showing last time out in the Maktoum Challenge Round III earlier this month, Marnane now believes Elleval can go the distance.
“Barring one race that we can run a line through, we couldn’t be happier with him,” he said. “He’s done everything right and has improved with every run.
“He didn’t have the cleanest of runs last time out — he likes to have a good flowing run and if he gets that he has a good leading chance.
“He looks a million dollars, is fresh, fit and goes well with the surface. He’s already drawn gate six and that’s a good pitch for him. A couple from inside will go forward and a couple outside will drop in. We’re hoping to get a nice pitch on the rail. He was second on World Cup night last year and we’d love to go one better.”
Despite running a shorter distance this year Marnane said Elleval would still threaten.
“The drop back in trip won’t do him any harm,” he said. “In a stronger-run race he can use his turn of foot at the end to his advantage.”
Marnane also has Jamesie running in the Dubai Golden Shaheen, a six-year-old gelding with one win and a second-place finish in four races at the carnival.
“He’s so consistent and is always improving,” he said. “He has come here and thrived and we are hoping for a big run from him. It’s a bigger issue for him that he gets a low draw as it’s very hard in that grade of sprint to be drawn out wide and come from behind, it’s been done before but it’s a big, long gallop.”