Not to be confused with horses of the same name that may have participated in other horse racing jurisdictions since, Habibti was British Horse of the Year and Timeform Horse of the Year in 1983. Indeed, in awarding an annual rating of 136, Timeform described her as ‘the best sprinter of her sex we have rated.’
Foaled in Ireland in March, 1980, the daughter of Habitat was bought, as a yearling, by
Mohammed Mutawa and put into training with John Dunlop at Castle Stables in Arundel, West Sussex, approaching it with all of the gusto of someone on their way to high roller casinos. Habitat was unbeaten in three starts as a juvenile, including the Lowther Stakes at York and the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh, both of which were, at the time, Group Two contests over six furlongs.
As a three-year-old, Habibti was initially campaigned over longer distances. She finished third in the Group Three Fred Darling Stakes, over seven furlongs, at Newbury before stepping up to a mile, without distinction, in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket and the Irish equivalent at the Curragh. However, switched back to sprinting in the July Cup, over six furlongs, at Newmarket, Habibti proved a revelation and her rivalry with another ‘flying filly’, the four-year-old Soba, trained by David Chapman, became one of the highlights of the season.
Having comfortably beaten Soba in the July Cup, Habibti did so again in the William Hill Sprint Championship, now the Nunthorpe Stakes, over five furlongs, at York. Back at six furlongs, she turned the Vernons Sprint Cup at Haydock into a procession, winning by seven lengths, and rounded off a stellar three-year-old campaign by beating Soba, for the fourth time, in the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp, over five furlongs, smashing the course record in the process. Easy peasy, as they say. Now time to win big on goldenrivieracasino if my luck is still in.