x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Habaayib leads the way

Habaayib, the Dubai-owned filly who won the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, will headline in the Cherry Hinton Stakes at Newmarket today.

Habaayib on her way to victory in the Albany Stakes during the Royal Ascot festival.
Habaayib on her way to victory in the Albany Stakes during the Royal Ascot festival.

Habaayib, the Dubai-owned filly who won the Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot, will headline in the Cherry Hinton Stakes at Newmarket today. Her owner, Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid, is enjoying a successful summer in England with winners at Royal Ascot including the excellent 1,000 Guineas victor, Ghanaati, in the Coronation Stakes.

Habaayib, two-years-old and trained by Ed Dunlop, attempts her sternest test under Richard Hills, as she steps up to a Group Two and faces runners from another Ascot fillies race, the Queen Mary Stakes. Misheer, trained by Clive Brittain, finished second at the Queen's meet and looks her main threat while third finisher, previously unbeaten Ceedwell, trained by Bryan Smart, also starts. Fourth-placed Capercaillie, prepared by Mark Johnston and ridden by Frankie Dettori lines up while the Richard Hannon-trained, Crown, who finished eighth at Ascot and, as a daughter of Royal Applause is a half sister to Habaayib, goes under Ryan Moore.

Dunlop has said his filly does not like soft ground and Newmarket's clerk, Michael Prosser, yesterday revised ground conditions for the July Festival from good to firm to good after the track eased following showers. Sheikh Hamdan's racing manager, Angus Gold, said conditions would have to deteriorate to soft before Habaayib would be withdrawn. "It's too early to say, but if we ended up with soft ground we would think about it," he said.

"Newmarket dries quickly though and she's come out of her run very well and everything looks positive." If Habaayib can triumph today she will add another win to Sheikh Hamdan's impressive tally, but Gold said success can appear skewed when an owner has a high-profile winner like Barry Hill's Ghanaati. Godolphin's regular jockey, Dettori, gets the ride on the Princess Haya-owned Cosmopolitan, a handicap winner last time out, who features among esteemed company in the Etihad Airways-sponsored Falmouth Stakes for fillies and mares.

One of two John Gosden runners in the race, the other being the improving Rainbow View, who was placed in three Group One fillies races this season, Cosmopolitan faces competition from four-year-old 2008 Breeders Cup Mile winner, Goldikova and Sir Michael Stoute's six-year-old Dahlia Stakes winning Heaven Scent. stregoning@thenational.ae