First City (left) defeated Mahbooba (right) by a nose in the Cape Verde Stakes.

First City (left) defeated Mahbooba (right) by a nose in the Cape Verde Stakes.

Dubai Racing Club/Andrew Watkins

Old Rivals Square Off Again in Balanchine

Mahbooba takes on First City and eight others in the Balanchine Stakes (UAE-IIT).

Mahbooba will try and turn the tables on First City when she faces that rival and eight others in the $200,000 Balanchine Stakes Sponsored by S.O.G. Operations (UAE-IIT) at Meydan Racecourse Feb. 17. The nine-furlong turf contest is the highlight of the 10th night of racing in the 2012 Dubai World Cup Carnival.

The last time they met, the 5-year-old daughter of Galileo came up just a nose short of First City the Cape Verdi Stakes Sponsored by the Saeed and Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (UAE-IIT). Prior to that, Mahbooba scored an easy victory over males in the ungraded Al Rashidiya Trial Jan. 5. The Mike de Kock-trained mare also had a very successful 2011 Dubai season, winning two of eight starts and finishing in the money six times.

Regular rider Christophe Soumillon will be aboard.

First City is hoping to add the Balanchine to her earlier Cape Verdi success. Before that win, the 6-year-old mare by Diktat only had two victories on her resume. She did show some back class, however, having finished a good third to Timepiece and Sahpresa in the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes (Eng-I). Royston Ffrench will be in the saddle.

Dysphonia will be making her first start in the royal blue silks of Godolphin. The 6-year-old mare by Lonhro previously raced for Sheikh Mohammed in Australia. In the money in 14 of her 23 starts, Dysphonia most recently was third in the Myer Classic Empire Rose Stakes (Aus-I) Oct. 29. Frankie Dettori will ride.

Making her first start outside of Scandinavia is Grafitti, a 7-year-old mare by Dansili trained by Niels Petersen. Even though she only has four wins to her credit, the bay mare has finished in the money in 16 of her 28 lifetime starts. Bred in England, Grafitti is out of the stakes-winning mare Reading Habit, and hails from the female family of grade I winners Best Pal and Richter Scale. Per-Anders Graberg will ride.

$200,000 Balanchine Stakes Sponsored by S.O.G. Operations (UAE-II, race 6, 8:55 a.m. EST), 3yo (Southern Hemisphere-bred) and up, 9 furlongs (turf).
PP, Horse, Wgt., Jockey, Trainer
1. Marvada (Ire), 126, S. de Sousa, K. Condon
2. Dysphonia (Aus), 126, L. Dettori, S. bin Suroor
3. Al Sharood (Ire), 126, T. O’Shea, D. Watson
4. Hurricane Havoc (Ire), 126, K. Manning, J. Bolger
5. Fanditha (Ire), 126, T. Durcan, M. Channon
6. Rhythm of Light (GB), 126, K. Fallon, T. Dascombe
7. Grafitti (Aus), 126, P.A. Graberg, N. Petersen
8. First City (GB), 129, R. Ffrench, A. Al Raihe
9. Reem (Aus), 126, K. Shea, M. de Kock
10. Mahbooba (Aus), 126, C. Soumillon, M. de Kock