01/20/2012 1:40PM

Dubai: First City upsets Mahbooba in Cape Verdi at Meydan


First City, third in two group stakes in England last year, caught Mahbooba in the final strides to win Friday’s $200,000 Cape Verdi Stakes over about a mile on turf at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

The Cape Verdi Stakes, for fillies and mares, was First City’s first stakes win and her first start since September, in England.

The nose victory under jockey Royston Ffrench could lead to a start for the 6-year-old mare in the $5 million Dubai Duty Free Stakes against males on the Dubai World Cup undercard on March 31, trainer Ali Rashid Al Raihe said.

Mahbooba, the winner of the Al Rashidiya Trial at Meydan on Jan. 5 and a 2-5 shot for the Cape Verdi with British boomakers, set the pace and was never seriously challenged until 10-1 First City rallied from the back of the field of eight in the final furlong.

“She has finished very strongly to get there in the last strides,” Ffrench said. “I was not sure we had won when we flashed past” the finish.

Reem, a 25-1 outsider, finished third in the field of eight.

Last year, First City, by Diktat, was third in the Group 3 Windsor Forest Stakes at Royal Ascot and third in the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket. The mare races for Saeed Hamad Al Ahbabi.