Mahbooba Sets the Standard in Dubai Carnival’s Cape Verdi

Having warmed up for this week’s Grade 2 Cape Verdi at Meydan, winning the Al Rishidiya Trial over nine furlongs on the Dubai Carnival opening night a fortnight ago, the Mike de Kock trained Mahbooba looks certain to go off warm order favourite in Friday’s race.

The Cape Verdi which is run over a mile on the turf track is the feature race for this fourth day of the 2012 Dubai Carnival which runs til March. It is open to fillies and mares only and it will be contested by eight runners, with none better qualified to win it seems than Mahbooba. Certainly de Kock has plenty of confidence in her, even though she will be dropping down to a mile which many believe is her absolute minimum trip. That said, she did win the UAE 1000 Guineas over a mile on the Tapeta last year which de Kock believes confirms her speed credentials and which is why he is not in the least bit worried about her chances in the Cape Verdi. The South African trainer has one of the best records of any flat trainer in the world when dropping his runners in trip.

De Kock also runs Reem, a dual winner of her five starts at last season’s Carnival, which includes a victory over Mahbooba over the 7 furlong UAE 1000 Guineas Trial. Mahbooba got her revenge in the Guineas itself three weeks later, winning by over three lengths but Reem was good enough to finish second. She finished second again a further fortnight later in the Group 2 Balanchine over nine furlongs before going on to win the ten furlong Listed Al Bastakiya. Reem is clearly a filly who enjoys plenty of exercise and although she showed nothing worth talking about on her reappearance at Meydan last week, she will almost certainly improve and will no doubt head across to Britian in the Summer as she did last year.

Al Sharood looks to be an interesting entry from the stable of Doug Watson. This four year old ran a blinder when winning a Conditions race over seven furlongs on the Tapeta at Meydan back in December but has also won over a mile on Fibresand in France. When with Godolphin she was thought when a 2 year old to be good enough to make it in Pattern Company but her disappointing run in the Grade 3 Albany Stakes at 2010 Royal Ascot persuaded Godolphin to unload her. She did not impress her subsequent trainer, John Hammond either with her two runs in France, but it would appear that she has now found a trainer who can extract her best work. She might go off at a decent price!

Last season’s Grade 1 Falmouth Stakes third, First City, is another very interesting rival to Mahbooba. She was a very creditable third place in that Falmouth Stakes run over a mile, finishing less than two lengths behind the winner. She followed that up with a very encouraging fourth of eight just over six lengths behind the magnificent Goldikova in the Grade Prix Rothschild over a mile at Deauville. She has now moved from the David Simcock stables to those of A Al Raile in Dubai where she has settled in superbly. If her new trainer can get this six year old to spark, then she too is capable of springing a major surprise and grabbing at least a place.