Australian bred star Mahbooba was beaten by First City in a pulsating finish to the G2 Cape Verde Stakes (1600m) at Meydan on Friday evening.
First City (Diktat) arrived in Dubai off a creditable 2011 campaign in Europe which included a third to Timepiece in the G1 Falmouth Stakes and a fourth to Goldikova in the G Prix Rothschild.
Christophe Soumillon sent odds-on favourite Mahbooba (Galileo) to the front in the early stages ahead of stablemate Reem (Galileo). She hit top gear and kicked clear in the straight until First City issued a challenge out wide. The two mares settled down to a two-horse war with First City just getting up in the last stride.
“Neither Christophe or I were sure of the result,” winning jockey Royston Ffrench said. “Our filly had run some big races in Group 1 company and she had been working well enough so we were hopeful.
“The Balanchine Stakes is the next target and then maybe the Dubai Duty Free but we will take it one step at a time.”
First City was bred in England by Darley and is out of the unraced Carson City mare City Maiden. She hails from the immediate family of G1 Mother Goose Stakes winner Dreams Gallore.
Her sire Diktat will be represented in Australia this year when his G1 winning son Dream Ahead shuttles to Emirates Park.