The big night is finally upon us and it's after shaping up to be a great card,

The Godolphin Mile  kicks off the card and it's very hard to look past North America he's done nothing wrong and still looks to be on the improve.


The Kahayla Classic for Arabians is another race where it's hard to look past the favourite AF Mathmoon he's back to his best and a repeat of last years performance would see him bang there.


The Dubai Gold Cup is a tough race where you could probably through a blanket over the first five home Vazirabad is bound to have to have come on leaps and bounds from his previous run but won't have it easy as its a much stronger race than last year.


Thunder Snow looks the one to beat in the UAE Derby but a dark horse who could spring a surprise is the Mike De Kock trained Fawree, they've done plenty of work with him in the stalls so hopefully he behaves on the big night, if he does he has plenty of class.


The Al Quoz Sprint  looks to be at Ertijaal's mercy but Limato could get in his way as he is a genuine top class sprinter. 


It would be great to see old Reynaldothewizard wind back the years and win the Goldsn Shaheen, he's done nothing wrong all season but there's another strong contender from the home team in Morawij, the Dhuruba Selveratnam trained runner made every post the winning post on Super Saturday and it would be great to see either party take one for the locals.


The Dubai Turf is perhaps the race of the night and anyone of the field could take this out with multiple Group 1 winners from across the globe it's hard to piece the form together but it's hard to see past Zarak who was such an impressive winner at the carnival already. Ribchester and Decorated Knight won't be too far away another horse I think could run a big race is Opal Tiara, she's been training extremely well and her form is strong from the two races she's run here this winter.


Jack Hobbs makes his reappearance in the Sheema Classic, it's a strong field even allowing for a small turnout with question marks over many of the runners, if Postponed returned to his best he should win but if Highland Reel gets an easy lead in front he'll be hard to peg back.


The World Cup itself is all about Arrogate but I personally don't think is as easy a race for him to win, there's an awful lot of variables that have to be taken into account such as its his first time to race abroad, his first time in a fast dirt track and the fact he's not running on Lasix for the first time.

I believe Erwin Charpy's filly Furia Cruzada will have a great each way chance, she wasn't suited by the condition of the track last time and ran a cracking race in defeat another horse you'd have to give a chance is Mubtaahij he needed his prep run and connections say he's transformed in the last few weeks


What ever the results it's sure to be a great days racing.


Thanks to those of you who have read my blogs throughout the 2017 Dubai Carnival.


All the best, Marc. 


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Super Saturday is finally upon us which sees the stars come out during an exciting race card which preludes the big night in 3 weeks time.


Old favourite Reynaldothewizard renews his rivalry with Muarrab in the Group 3 Mab Al Shimaal. Last time out winner Cool Cowboy is also in opposition while Japan have an exciting new shooter in the shape of Dios Corrida.


Postponed (pictured above) makes his first start of his 2017 campaign in the G2 Dubai City Of Gold, he's bidding to repeat his win in the race last year, he breezed on the grass on Wednesday with his lead horse and looked great.


Round 3 of the Maktoum Challenge is probably the best race on the card with Second Summer looking to go one better than last time but he will again have to get by Furia Cruzada who was so tough and game when beating him last time in Round 2.

Japan are represented by last years UAE Derby winner Lani on his prep for the big one in a few weeks time, if he is to have a chance then he must go well here.

Godolphin run what could be a real dark horse in the unexposed Move Up having not been seen yet this season but on his final UK start he continued his progression when defeating Arab Spring in a Group 3, dirt is of course a huge unknown but the boys in blue rarely waste a dart in a big race.


The Group 1 Jebel Hatta wraps up the card and it won't be an easy race to pick the winner with both Godolphin runners looking to hold strong chances, the filly Promising Run who has been in great form this Carnival and the lightly raced Folkswood who won so well in handicap company last time.  

Roger Charlton has travelled over the promising and lightly raced 5yo Decorated Knight for the race and he's coming off the back of a winning his prep run in a Listed Race at Lingfield in good style, he looks to hold strong claims.

The William Haggas trained Muffri'ha goes in search of her first UAE victory having being game in defeat in her two previous runs this season, it's a big step up as she bids to follow in the footsteps of Sajjhaa the last filly to win this race. 


Plenty of quality action on offer and makes for a great days racing.


Enjoy and speak to you all again ahead of World Cup Night.


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This week sees the last of the #DWCC17 meets before Super Saturday and a lot of the internationals will head home if they aren't rated high enough for Super Saturday or the World Cup meet itself after tomorrow night.


Fillies take centre stage in the UAE Oaks where the shock Guineas winner Nashmiah and 2nd place getter No More Rich Blondes lock horns again, I personally think the step up in trip will suit No More Rich Blondes more.


The stayers are also seen out in force in the Group 3 Nad Al Sheba Trophy where Sheikhzayadroad makes his first start of the year and he seems to shine out here with connections having said as a young horse he seemed to prefer going left handed, he'll have to be right on his A game on his first start back to see off Vazirabad (from an apparent in form trainer judged on Zarak's romp last week) a Group 1 winner on his last start in October looks the pick of the race. 


Mubtaahij (pictured in his stable courtesy of @LauraKingDXB) makes his seasonal comeback in the Curlin handicap which is the same race that California Chrome win last year so possibly it's a sign of what might take their part in the World Cup itself, this looks a real opportunity for the former star 2yo to get back in the winners enclosure.


No trips abroad this week for me but I have been lucky enough to get back on a few nice rides on Friday at Al Ain having a last minute change of plans so I'm thankful to both owners and trainers for allowing me back on their horses.


Saturday sees me at Meydan for a local meeting with a good book of rides, we will be looking for a bit of luck an then it's onto Abu Dhabi Sunday for a mainly Arabian fixture so all in all a busy weekend ahead.


Speak again ahead of Super Saturday! 


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Balanchine Stakes time where the fillies take there  chance in the G2 event,

Very Special will be looking to build on her win last time out but I could see Opel Tiara reversing the positions this time having looked most unlucky when finishing second to her last time.

She has continued to do well since that run and must go well once more.


Later in the card the milers take centre stage, where my UK guv'nor Hugo Palmer's Gifted Master (pictured) looks to start his years campaign off in the same vein as last season with a bang, he is a stable favourite and we would be hoping for much of the same but it won't be a walk in the park with the likes of Championship, Flash Fire, Noah From Goa and Light The Lights  all bringing top quality form into the race.


Friday sees Jebel Ali's biggest race day of the year with the Jebel Ali Stakes over a mile and the Jebel Ali Sprint both being run on the same card, both lookto be competitive renewals.


With just the two domestic meets this week it's probably the quietest week of the season which isn't a bad thing because next week sees us having a full 4 days racing and I'm booked to travel to Bahrain Friday so I'll be making the most of the calm before the storm!


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Action packed week this week with 4 meetings in the UAE including two #DWCC17 meetings, Thursday's main feature is the UAE 1000 Guineas where the Goldolphin filly Really Special bids to make it 4 from 4 having already won impressively at the carnival last month.


Another horse I'm looking forward to seeing is the Mick Channon trained sprinter Scrutineer, he lines up for the first time in the 6f handicap, I can honestly say he's been thriving since he's come out and I would be hoping for a big run.


I have a ride on Thursday in the Meydan Classic Trial for the EERC, Whirl Me Round on debut for them and Fawzi Naas. It will be a tough race and it's a fact finding mission to see if he stays after some good runs in 2yo sales race in the U.K.


Saturday sees the colts do battle in the 2000 Guineas where Group one winner Thunder Snow will be an hugely interesting contender, another Godolphin candidate who will go close is the trial winner Fly At Dawn who flashed home late on his last start.


Another group race on the card is the Group 3 Firebreak Stakes which sees the return of North America who is the stand out horse in the race but the Doug Watson trained Desert force could be the one to run him down. 


It's going to be a great weeks racing!


Good luck to all this week and speak again next week! 


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Thursday's action from Meydan may be lacking in numbers but the quality of races remains with Round 2 of The Al Maktoum Challenge which sees the debut of the now Erwin Charpy (The Boss), trained ex Chilean filly Furia Cruzada who comes with quite a fan club. She was a multiple Grade 1 winner in her homeland, she comes to Dubai off the back of a decent season in England where she was trained by the master having been in the care of John Gosden. We are hoping for a good run but coming from a break obviously she'll come on from the run.

The race also sees South Korean representative Power Blade in opposition, he ran a very respectable race when third to North America two weeks ago.


The Al Shindaga Sprint  is a rematch between Muarrab and Wild Dude who took the minor honours in the Dubawi Stakes behind old Reynaldothewizard, I have a suspicion that Wild Dude could take the honours here benefiting from his last run .


Local action is at Jebel Ali on Friday but I won't be there as I am making the trip to Bahrain for their big race day consisting of 3 Group 1 races .


There is no racing Saturday which hopefully means catching up on sleep, having been in the 10pm at meydan on Thursday and I won't be home until very late after Bahrain on Friday.


It's then on to Abu Dhabi Sunday for a quality Arabian card where the track hosts round one of the Arabian championship.


Good luck to all this week and speak again next week.


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It's Week 3 of the Dubai International Racing Carnival already which means it's the Al Fahidi Fort Group 2  which sees the return of Flash Fire  who won impressively  on the opening night of the carnival, off the back of that run he is likely to be international favourite. The race also sees the Dubai debut of multiple Group 1 wining Turkish raider, Graystorm who looks a most interesting prospect and would be great to see him run a big race in probably the most international race run so far.


Last week saw the return of Reynaldothewizard in the Dubawi astakes, he was so game to see off Muarrab at the ripe old age of 11 and his performance brought the proverbial house down. 


Personally I'm hoping for a non runner in the 3rd race on the card so the Mick Channon trained Moonraker who I rode first up can take his chance.


Friday sees me at Jebel Ali for 3 rides where So Noble makes his first appearance for Touch Gold Racing since moving from William Muir to Satish Seemar, then it's onto Abu Dhabi for the Presidents Cup prep race for Arabians 


No international trips this week so it's been a busy week riding out a few new recruits for Erwin Charpy having their first spins around Meydan's grass track which as you would expect has been riding great the past few weeks.


See you all again next week! 



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Thursday sees another competitive nights racing at meydan where the feature race is the listed Dubawi stakes where former Golden Shaheen winner Reynaldothewizard lines up against last years winner Muarrab and American bred Wild Dude who if he takes to the Meydan dirt first time then he should be in the frame.


The sprint handicap sees two Group 1 veteran winners line up in Gordon Lord Byron and Sole Power, two of the very best on their day it would be great to see one of them get their nose in front.


I have one ride for the boss at Meydan on Thursday in Emirates Airline, a formerly decent individual for Godolphin back in the day, I rode him on his UAE debut at Jebel Ali just before Christmas, he never got into the race that day so we will see how he gets on second up on Thursday. 


It's a busy week in terms of local racing with four days of racing in total after Meydan, Al Ain takes centre stage on Friday. Meydan host a local card on Saturday and on to Abu Dhabi Sunday where I've a 53 kg (8st 5lb) ride in the last so for me that's plenty of gym and sashimi this week, it's one of the great things about Dubai, the selection of food is unbelievable and you can have proper healthy food delivered to your door but also McDonald's deliver which isn't a great thing when you've 53! 


Have a a good week all and see you again next week.


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Happy New Year folks hopefully it's a good one ! 


Finally the Carnival is upon us with a seven race card kicking things off on Thursday and it's straight into great racing with the Group 2 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 1 where some of the Carnivals most recent stars line up, 
last years winner La Bernardin heads the field which also includes last years Godolphin Mile 3rd Cool Cowboy, Super mare Polar River takes on the boys after a lacklustre return at the end of last year  and perhaps the most interesting runner of all is the former top class 2 year old Emotionless who makes his UAE and dirt debut.


A wonderfully exciting starting point for the Carnival. 


I am am fortunate enough to have picked a nice ride in the sprint handicap on Mick Channon's Moonraker, (I have yet to sit on him) but he has some good handicap form in the book, like a win at the Shergar Cup 2 years ago so I am looking forward to the ride.


Friday sees me back 'up the hill' at Jebel Ali for 3 and Saturday it's off to Al Ain for a mainly Arabian evening fixture. I have no trips abroad this week which means I can get into the international yard a few mornings.


Hope everyone enjoys the Meydan card and I will be back again next week. 


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Hope everyone had a good Christmas it's a pretty quiet one this week with only one meeting but we have another pre carnival trial race this time for the 2 year olds at Meydan on Thursday, 

I'm off to Bahrain on Friday for 3 rides and I'm really looking forward to teaming up with Bazaruto again in the sprint cup.


Plenty of action going on in the international stable with horses from Korea (Triple Nine pictured arriving Xmas Eve) arriving over the weekend they've a pretty strong team of horses this year so it'll be exciting to see how they get on.


India have a representative in Desert God trained by S.Padmanabhan he's got quite an impressive record in his homeland winning last years King fisher Derby among many others so it will be intriguing to see how he gets on in the heat of the Carnival.


Christmas was quiet for me as I was in work,  sitting on five on Christmas Day before we headed out for brunch at Min Al Salam down on Jumeirah beach which was fun, and I was off Boxing Day so caught almost all the racing, in the U.K. and back home, it was especially pleasing to see Andrew Thornton reach his goal of 1,000 winners over the sticks.


All the best for the week ahead and Happy New year to all of you.




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Hi folks,

I'm glad to be joining Empire International Bloodstock for a weekly blog basically about my on goings in Dubai and an insight into racing out here. 


It's been a busy weekend for me having been in Bahrain on Friday for their National Day Cup where I had a winner, the Abdullah Haji trained ex John Gosden inmate Bazaruto (pictured, (who's next start is the Sprint Cup a week Friday)), he is an exciting horse who I am looking forward to sitting on again, followed by Sharjah on Saturday which is mainly an Arabian fixture and on to Abu Dhabi on Sunday for another mainly Arabian card.


Monday is usually my day off but entries for the week are sorted then and declarations Tuesday so I can never be to far from the iPhone or iPad.


This week starts in earnest with a trip to Qatar on Thursday evening, it's only an hours flight from Dubai which is a huge plus. 

Friday sees Jebel Ali's final meet of 2016, where I've 4 rides, that card is headed up by the Jebel Ali Mile prep (I don't have a ride) in which a horse I'm looking forward to seeing out on track again is Just A Penny, he blitzed the field there last year and has two runs under his already belt this season so he should be peaking for this race. My week ends with a trip to Sharjah on Saturday.


The lifestyle and the way the racing Calendar is mapped out really suits us out here with the furthest track being Abu Dhabi which is only an hour and a half hour drive unlike the UK, and racing is max four days a week so you know from Thursday to Sunday you have to have your weight sorted and you're off on Monday so you can head for a meal on Sunday and not have to worry about kilos until afterwards. 



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Marc Monaghan is one of the rising stars of the flat racing scene in the UK who like so many young jockeys is looking to make his breakthrough onto the big stage.

Born in Nenagh Co.Tipperary the young Irishman began his career with Michael Halford back in 2012, where he immediately struck up a striking partnership with the Paul Deegan trained filly Midnight Soprano winning two high quality Premier Handicaps in the early part of 2012, in the second of those wins she beat subsequent Irish St Leger winner Royal Diamond and Carnival regular future Dubai Gold Cup winner Certerach.


Marc was reunited with mare in the summer of the following season where in the driving rain at Cork Racecourse under strong urgings from Monaghan, Midnight Soprano collared Magical Dream and Cubanita on the line to win the Group 3 Noblesse Stakes.

Monaghan then made the bold decision to move across the Irish sea to the then up and coming yard of one Hugo Palmer and he is considered a vital cog in the huge success Kremlin Cottage has enjoyed in the last few seasons. 

Monaghan is a young jockey with talent and great ambition, who has a hunger for success.


As a result of his passion he is now in his 5th season of racing in the United Arab Emirates and is currently based with French trainer Erwin Charpy at his Meydan stable.


Fresh from losing his claim in the Emirates we are delighted that Marc has agreed to write a weekly blog for us during the up and coming Dubai International Racing Carnival.


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Photos by @simmy_hanley

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