Certify made a triumphant return from 489 days off the track when maintaining her unbeaten record in the Group 2 Cape Verdi at Meydan yesterday.
The Godolphin filly, trained by Charlie Appleby, was held up towards the rear of the five-runner field but travelled ominously well on the outside as they turned for home. She cruised alongside L’Amour De Ma Vie and just had to be pushed out hands and heels by Mickael Barzalona to score by three-quarters of a length and take her 100 per cent tally to five races.
Eddie Lynam’s Pearl Of Africa was third, with the favourite Flotilla a disappointing fourth behind the 2-1 winner.
Certify, the top juvenile filly of 2012, was one of 22 Godolphin horses suspended from racing for six months last year by the British Horseracing Authority at the inquiry at which her trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni received an eight-year ban.
She had been tipped for Classic honours after winning all four starts as a two-year-old, including the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster and the Shadwell Fillies’ Mile, but never got the chance to confirm her promise.
Appleby said: “She can only improve from this. I’m just delighted for Sheikh Mohammed and Godolphin giving this filly a chance to show what she was as a two-year-old. We had high hopes for her as a three-year-old and, hopefully, she’s got a lovely career ahead of her as a four-year-old. The plan was always to go to the Balanchine [a Meydan Group Two over nine furlongs] and, if she comes out of this race well, that’s what we’ll do. It will be Sheikh Mohammed and Simon Crisford [racing manager] to decide whether she runs on World Cup night or take her back to Europe.”
Barzalona told Racing UK: “My filly was coming back after a year and a half off so what she did was very good.”
At Wincanton, Venetia Williams saddled the first and third in the inaugural Dick Hunt Handicap Chase.
The winner and 9-4 joint- favourite Bennys Mist was ridden by stable No 1 Aidan Coleman and battled back bravely when headed by Rouge Et Blanc to beat him by three lengths. “It was a bit of a risk coming back quickly after a tough race the other week but he does like soft ground,” said Williams.
Carrickboy, out of sorts since his Cheltenham Festival victory last spring, showed far more sparkle to grab a place.
Paul Nicholls only trains a handful of mares at his stable but he has a good one in the ex-Irish pointer Tagrita. The 1-3 favourite barely broke sweat in the Carling EBF Mares’ “National Hunt” Novices’ Hurdle to beat Brantingham Breeze by three and a half lengths. Nicholls said: “We were finding out about her first time she ran at Newbury and she won well here the last day and again today.”