Trainer Saeed bin Suroor was expecting a huge effort from Sajjhaa in the $200,000 Cape Verdi Sponsored by Meydan Hotels (UAE-II) Jan. 24 at Meydan, and she delivered with a 3 3/4-length win for the Maktoum family’s Godolphin.
Guided by Silvestre de Sousa, the Dubai World Cup Carnival’s current leading rider, the 6-year-old King's Best mare was wound up before the race and keen early on before settling into an ideal stalking position in midpack as stablemate Dark Orchid led the way. De Sousa rallied his mount about 500 meters out and she eagerly responded before bumping in early stretch with runner-up Amanee, who was racing to her inside. Sajjhaa shook clear of the South African group I winner to lead 400 meters out and cruised across the finish line a convincing winner.
Amanee rallied belatedly but could not catch Sajjhaa, who covered the 1,600-meter (about one-mile) turf race in 1:36.68 as the 3-to-5 favorite in North American pools. Trainer Mike de Kock’s Amanee stayed on well to finish second, 1 1/4 lengths in front of last year’s Cape Verdi winner, First City.
“She is a nice mare who never runs a bad race and we thought she would be hard to beat as she had been working very well and has thrived in the Dubai weather,” bin Suroor said. “We will be back in four weeks for the Balanchine Stakes (UAE-II, Feb. 21).”
A group III winner in Italy in 2010, Sajjhaa was winless in three starts in 2012 though she performed creditably each time. She came into the Cape Verdi with a close second-place finish in a listed stakes Nov. 10 at Doncaster after being overtaken near the finish line. Earlier last season at York, she finished second to Izzi Top, a subsequent group I winner in Ireland and France, in the Betfred Middleton Stakes (Eng-II).
Sajjhaa, who was bred in Great Britain by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum’s Darley, has five wins and four seconds from 14 career starts. She is out of the winning Darshaan mare Anaamil, whose dam, Noushkey, was runner-up in the 1999 Vodafone Espom Oaks (Eng-I). The family also includes French and Japanese group I winner and sire Alkaased.
Sajjhaa is one of 54 stakes winners and 27 graded or group stakes winners for Darley’s prominent sire King’s Best. The 16-year-old son of Kingmambo will stand in Japan for the first time in 2013.