02/21/2013 2:15PM

Dubai: Sajjhaa upsets in Balanchine with Igugu third


Sajjhaa, winner of the Group 2 Cape Verdi Stakes in January, scored an upset victory in Thursday’s $200,000 Balanchine Stakes at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, spoiling the 2013 debut of South African 2011-12 Horse of the Year Igugu.

Sajjhaa won the Balanchine Stakes over about 1 1/8 miles on turf by a length over Prussian, with Igugu, third, beaten 4 1/4 lengths.

Ridden by Silvestre de Sousa, Sajjhaa (5-2 with British bookmakers) raced in the middle of the field of seven fillies and mares for the first seven furlongs and took the lead with about a quarter-mile remaining. Igugu, the 4-7 favorite with British bookmakers, led after a furlong but was passed by Sajjhaa in early stretch.

Sajjhaa, a 6-year-old mare by King’s Best, is trained by Saeed Bin Suroor for Godolphin Racing. Earlier in her career, Sajjhaa won the Group 3 Sergio Cumani in Italy in 2010 and two minor stakes in England, at Bath and York racecourses.

[DUBAI RACING: Recaps and video replays from Meydan]

After the Balanchine, Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford told the racing press that Sajjhaa will be sent to Europe for the spring, with an eye on an American campaign in the second half of 2013.

Igugu is trained by Michael de Kock, who won Thursday’s Group 2 Al Fahidi Fort over 1 1/8 miles on turf with the 5-year-old Australian-bred gelding Mushreq.

Ridden by Paul Hanagan, Mushreq (4-1) finished a length in front of Master of Hounds, who was followed by 25-1 Iguazu Falls in the field 10. Mandaean, the 13-8 favorite, finished sixth. Mandaean won the Group 1 Criterium de Saint Cloud in France as a 2-year-old in 2011.

Mushreq raced in the middle of the field and took the lead in the final furlong. The win could lead to a start in the $5 million Dubai Duty Free at Meydan on March 30. By Flying Spur, Mushreq is owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.

Await the Dawn, seventh in the 2011 Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs, won a handicap over 1 1/4 miles on turf earlier on the program.

Trained by de Kock, Await the Dawn could run in the $5 million Sheema Classic on March 30.