Magic Lily justified the decision of connections to keep her in training when lifting Group Two honours in a thrilling renewal of the Cape Verdi at Meydan.
Placed behind Laurens at Group One level as a juvenile, Magic Lily missed her entire three-year-old campaign through injury and had just two runs last season.
However, the Godolphin-owned filly had been pleasing trainer Charlie Appleby and showed she still retains plenty of ability when rallying in admirable fashion to collar Nisreen by a short head on the line – breaking the track record for the mile.
“I’m delighted. Obviously she’s a filly that we’ve had our issues with, but she’s gone and repaid us for our patience,” said Appleby of the 13-8 favourite, who was partnered by James Doyle.
“As a two-year-old she won her maiden and was placed in the Fillies’ Mile – she’s had a chequered training career since then, but delighted she’s got back on track. It was a tough performance.
“She’s got a fantastic pedigree and it’s great to have that result behind her.”
He added: “We were confident going into the race she’d be a big player, but coming back to a mile was always going to be on the sharper side and her bit of stamina came into play at the end.
“It was a track record. They set good gallop and kept it up all the way to the line.
“Stepping up in trip is only going to eke a bit more improvement again. The Balanchine (over nine furlongs) is next for her.”
Doyle had struck earlier on Roulston Scar (13-2) for Simon Crisford in the Riviera 2 Handicap.
Bought for 110,000 guineas out of Kevin Ryan’s stable, the four-year-old stuck to the stands side from stall 16. He gradually drew clear inside the final two furlongs to score by a length and a quarter from Jamie Osborne’s Dream Today.
Certain Lad (33-1) equalled the best time for the 10 furlongs when causing an upset in the Zabeel Turf.
Ben Curtis brought the Mick Channon-trained four-year-old with a rattling run to lead inside the final furlong and plunder the prize by three-quarters of a length from Mick Halford’s Irish raider Simsir.
Curtis, taking time off from his quest to be champion jockey on the all-weather this winter, said: “That lad is improving with every run. It’s unbelievable.
“I thought the last day was his best ever run and the way he’s travelled through he’s bettered that today.”
Suedois (9-2), trained in North Yorkshire by David O’Meara, just edged out the Crisford-trained Epic Hero in the hands of Danny Tudhope after a tight finish to the Allyah Handicap.
But there was agony for Newmarket trainer Jane Chapple-Hyam and jockey John Egan in the Mina Handicap, where Ambassadorial was worn down in the dying strides by Pat Dobbs on the Doug Watson-trained Midnight Sands (2-1 favourite).