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First Place Possible For Ali Rashid`s City

First City`s Connections Hoping She Can Defend Cape Verdi Title

The Ali Rashid Al Raihe-trained First City takes to the track to defend the Cape Verdi crown she snatched from the talented Mahbooba last season in Thursday’s Group 2 US$200,000 feature race.

The seven-year-old mare takes on a select field of seven rivals in the 1600m turf race restricted to fillies and mares at Meydan Racecourse and connections are hopeful she can run to her best.

“She has been going well and should give a good account of herself,” said Al Raihe, the reigning UAE Champion Trainer. “She won this race last year and we hope for a good run this season too.”

If First City acquits herself well under Royston Ffrench tomorrow (Thursday) connections expect her to follow a similar path as last season through the Dubai World Cup Carnival, which saw her take in the Balanchine, where Mahbooba turned the tables to claim victory and finally the Godolphin Mile, in which she finished sixth to Godolphin`s African Story.

Al Raihe said: “That was her first run for us when she won it last year and we were obviously very pleased with that. She then ran a good second in the Balanchine and these two races are her main targets again.”

First up this season, the mare, who can take a keen hold in her races, had an outing at Abu Dhabi and finished unplaced.

“She ran at Abu Dhabi when not really handling the track but is doing well at home and she should run a nice race,” said Al Raihe.

Also representing Al Raihe`s Grandstand Stable is Naseem Alyasmeen, a four-year-old filly owned by Jaber Abdullah who will benefit from having Paul Hanagan in the saddle.

“We think she`s a nice filly and are looking forward to see what she can do,” said Jilani Sidiqui, an assistant to Al Raihe.

Naseem Alyasmeen is dropping down in trip from her first two unplaced starts for the yard which were over 2000m and 1800m.