Starlet Murphy winning praise Down Under
As teenage riding sensation Oisin Murphy continues to take the world by storm on his brief Australian foray, a few more established names will fly the flag on another international stage when the Dubai Racing Carnival kicks off at Meydan today.
In his first season riding in Britain last year, Killarney-born Murphy, apprenticed to Andrew Balding, made a huge impact en route to 41 winners. He has made a similarly whirlwind start to his winter tenure Down Under, with two wins from two for local handler Danny O'Brien at Geelong -- taking his wins-to-rides ratio to 7-37.
The 18-year-old was due to conclude his busman's holiday this month, but will now stay until February 16 at O'Brien's request. "This kid is going to make some very loud noises overseas in the next five or so years," gushed O'Brien. "I've no doubt he's destined for a plum job with one of the top yards. He'd be one of the top riders here if he stayed too."
Murphy said after his Geelong double: "It's been great so far and I'm learning a lot. It's very different, but it's been a great experience... I'd love to come back and, hopefully, it will happen."
Paddy Power have made Murphy their 1/5 favourite to be crowned champion apprentice in Britain this year.
At Meydan, Dubai regulars David Marnane and Ger Lyons have two runners each, with Lyons' Brendan Brackan on duty in the mile Group Two under another of last season's apprentice finds Colin Keane. Gary Carroll partners the Co Meath stable's Tennessee Wildcat in a valuable seven-furlong handicap, in which Marnane's Fergal Lynch-ridden Jamesie also has a chance.
Tommy Stack's Nero Emperor tackles the card's opening sprint handicap under Wayne Lordan. Ex-pats Richard Fahey and David O'Meara are also well represented, with the latter Co Cork-born, Yorkshire-based handler saddling Sweet Lightning.
In the same handicap, Clon Brulee, a five-time winner for owner-breeder Collette Twomey, debuts for Saeed bin Suroor after being sold to Godolphin.