01/30/2014 4:44PM

Meydan: Certify sharp after long layoff, remains undefeated


Making her first start since September 2012, the 4-year-old filly Certify made an excellent return to the races, scoring a measured three-quarter-length victory over longshot L’Amour De Ma Vie in the Group 2, $200,000 Cape Verdi Stakes on turf Thursday at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai.

Certify, a Godolphin filly trained by Charlie Appleby, now has won all five of her starts. She was among the early favorites for the 2013 English 1000 Guineas, but missed that race and all of her 3-year-old season as one of the 11 horses in the English training yard of Mahmood al Zarooni who tested positive for steroids last spring and were banned from racing by English authorities.

Racing from the rear of a six-horse field as Shuruq set the pace – which quickened markedly after a slow opening quarter-mile – Certify moved into contention after turning into the homestretch and strode up to the leaders while never being asked by jockey Mickael Barzalona. She raced on cruise control while comfortably holding at bay L’Amour De Ma Vie, who finished almost five lengths clear of third-place Pearl of Africa. Time for the 1,600 meters (about one mile) was a good 1:36.08.

“She won very easy today,” Barzalona said. “Hopefully she can improve again.”

Perhaps equally impressive was Muqaarib’s win in the Group 2, $200,000 Al Rashidiya later on the card. Making his first Dubai start after being imported from South Africa, the 6-year-old Mike de Kock trainee stormed to the lead in the homestretch after rallying from far back, opened a clear lead, and just held on over stablemate Mushreq after appearing to idle once clear. Maputo finished two lengths farther back for third in the nine-furlong turf race, won in a snappy time of 1:48.06.

Muqaarib, a Shadwell homebred, was bred in Australia and was a Group 2 winner in South Africa. He gave de Kock and jockey Christophe Soumillon consecutive winners on the card after Zahee had won the fourth race, a seven-furlong Tapeta handicap.