The ladies took centre stage on Thursday evening at Dubai’s Meydan Racecourse in the one-mile Cape Verdi (G2) on turf, a fixture that attracted horses from Sweden, France and the UK–but it was the home UAE team led by Godolphin runners that seemed the most imposing on paper in a race that has been won by such standouts as Dubai World Cup night winners Sun Classique and Sajjhaa.
In the end, Godolphin’s Althiqa made a sweeping last-to-first move to prove such, giving jockey James Doyle and trainer Charlie Appleby their third consecutive and fourth overall victory in the 1600m affair, defeating Roger Varian-trained Stylistique (Andrea Atzeni aboard) by 2 1/4 lengths at the line. Last year’s UAE 1000 Guineas (Listed) winner Dubai Love and jockey Pat Cosgrave closed well to finish third, one length back of the runner-up. Swedish invader Silent Night ran admirably to finish fourth, while favourite Summer Romance finished a disappointing fifth of nine after setting a rapid tempo.
“It worked out nicely,” Doyle said. “It’s a tricky race, as they always are, these types of races. I was trying to work out the race this morning and thought there were plenty of runners who might go forward, but whether they would push forward and push the pace was yet to be seen. She’s galloped through the line very well today, so I think–since there isn’t anything else for her–it’s worth a crack at going to the nine furlongs in the (Group 2 Balanchine), where they might not go as quick as they were today.”
Regarding the runner-up, Atzeni added: “I had a nice race. She jumped good and had a really nice position. She traveled nicely and stayed on all the way to the line, but probably was beat by a better filly on the night. Obviously, we’re very pleased with her. I think there might be a race in a couple weeks with an extra furlong and she obviously gets the trip very well. This was just a start and she ran a blinder.”
Cosgrave was pleased with Dubai Love: “She ran great. We went really fast. I thought I would be first or second (early on), but I couldn’t quite get going. I was traveling nice into the bend and had to sit into the turn, but finished off nice. She ran home well.”
The winner is a Listed-winning Godolphin homebred by Dark Angel and won for the fourth time in eight starts. The victory was her first in Group company, having placed three times in G3 company last year. Speaking to her class, she finished a one-length third to multiple G1 winner One Master three starts back in July.
The Balanchine is scheduled for 1800m on Feb. 18. The past three winners of the Cape Verdi have pulled off the double.
Press Release Tamarkuz Media/ Images Dubai Racing Club