MAHBOOBA landed the Group 2 Balanchine Stakes over 1800m for Mike de Kock on Friday evening, his fifth success in the race that was only introduced to the calendar in 2004.
Christophe Soumillon was in the saddle on the winner, as he had been on stable companion River Jetez who won the race last year from another stablemate Reem who was third this year. They were divided by First City who made a brave attempt to follow up her defeat of Mahbooba in the 1600m Cape Verdi, a victory for which she was penalised.
Soumillon’s mount looked in trouble 400m out but stayed on dourly to lead 100m out to the delight of her trainer who said: “We knew the 1600m in the Cape Verdi was going to be on the short side and she has needed the 1800m here.
“She won over further in the UK last year and I think we will try the 2400m of the Dubai City Of Gold on Super Saturday with a view to aiming her at the Dubai Sheema Classic on Dubai World Cup night.”
Mahbooba wins the Ballanchine. (Andrew Watkins).
Headline photo: Mahbooba’s owner Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa Al Maktoum, receiving the winner’s trophy with Christophe Soumillon and Mike de Kock at his side.