First City (left) hits the front late to claim the Cape Verdi at MeydanPICTURE: Andrew Watkins Dubai Racing Club
First City gets up late to defeat Mahbooba
Report: UAE, Friday
Meydan: Cape Verdi Sponsored By The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (Group 2) 1m, f/m, turf, 3yo+
FIRST CITY got up in the final strides to thwart odds-on chance Mahbooba and score on her first start for trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe.
Formerly with David Simcock, the six-year-old, who had shown a good level of form last season, especially when third in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes, overturned the favourite after a battle lasting over a furlong.
Mahbooba, an impressive four and a quarter length winner of a conditions race at the track earlier in the month, was sent off at 2-5 to maintain her unbeaten record at this season's Dubai World Cup Carnival, but was unable to repel the sustained drive of Royston Ffrench and First City.
Mike de Kock's favourite had dictated terms after breaking smartly and setting the pace from stablemate Reem. After rounding the turn, Soumillon asked his mount for maximum effort and soon had his rivals at work.
Ffrench howeverproduced First City down the centre and she reeled in Mahbooba, getting the verdict by a nose at odds of 10-1.
Ffrench said: "Neither Christophe or I were sure who had won when we flashed past but we knew it was close. Our filly's form in Europe was very good, with some big runs in Group 1 company and she had been working well enough so we were hopeful.
"The Balanchine Stakes is the obvious next target and the boss has mentioned perhaps Super Saturdayand maybe the Dubai Duty Free but we will take it one step at a time."
The first two home pulled a long way clear of the rest, with Reem filling out the places for de Kock at 25-1.