Dubai: Godolphin handler Saeed Bin Surour’s long wait for a second success in the Group 2 Balanchine — one of the Dubai World Cup Carnival’s principal stakes races for fillies and mares — will be over should Sajjhaa replicate the performance she delivered to win Thursday’s renewal of the Group 2 Cape Verdi Stakes.
The six-year-old daughter of King’s Best ran out a convincing three-and-three-quarter lengths winner over the Mike de Kock-trained Amanee at Meydan Racecourse. Last year’s scorer First City stayed on for third, after having led at the two-furlong pole.
Bin Surour, who last won the $200,000 (Dh734,550) Balanchine in 2004 with Gonfila, must now have a realistic chance of once again landing the 1,800m contest on Oaks Day, February 21.
“She’s a nice horse who hardly ever runs a bad race,” said the Emirati handler. “Tonight the distance was a little bit short, she would prefer a mile and a quarter, but the strong pace suited her.
“She ran some good races in England last summer and was even placed in a Group 2 and Listed race. She has thrived ever since she arrived in Dubai, so we were very hopeful that she will run a big race on Thursday.
“I’m sure she will improve for that and the Balanchine is certainly one of the options.”
Sajjhaa was completing a meet double for Bin Surour, who had earlier in the evening saddled former French-based Masteroftherolls to win the Meydan Hotel Trophy over 1,800m on Turf.
Brazilian ace Silvestre de Sousa rode both winners for Bin Surour to take his tally to seven for the new season.
Fellow Godolphin trainer Mahmoud Al Zarouni also put his name on the scoresheet when Mandaean won the concluding Meydan Beach Trophy, with only long-time Dubai-based handler Satish Seemar offering a challenge to the imperious partnership, when winning two races on the night.
Stable jockey Richard Mullen once again pulled wool over his rivals when he made all the running to win the opening Zabeel Feedmill Trophy over 2,200m before a change of equipment saw Reynaldothewizard back to his best in winning the Meydan Golf Trophy over 1,200m.
Commenting on the tactics that he was allowed to employ aboard Bay Willow, Mullen said: “Nobody was keen to go on, so I was happy to make the running and go for home from a long way out as stamina was certainly not an issue,” he said. “It was a good win and he has been a revelation since employing these tactics.”
Earlier in the evening Macau’s champion trainer, Alan Man Chau Tam, sent out his Derby winner Elderly Paradise to win the Bab Al Shams Trophy over 2,000m in the All-Weather.
Tam was delighted with the result, and said: “He has got used to the track after his first start, when he finished second. Now everything depends on how he comes out of this race.”