02/18/2010 12:00AM

Allybar captures Round 2 of Maktoum Challenge

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European turf form proved the key to Round 2 of the 1 3/16-mile Maktoum Challenge on Thursday night as Allybar held off Crowded House in the $200,000 Group 3 trial for the Dubai World Cup on Meydan's synthetic Tapeta surface.

Coming from last of twelve to first with a bold outside move under Ahmed Ajtebi, Allybar was following up on a 7 1/2-length victory over the highly regarded Presvis in a 1 1/4-mile handicap on Feb. 5. Now 2 for 2 on the Meydan Tapeta, the King's Best 4-year-old gives Godolphin a legitimate dark horse contender in the Dubai World Cup.

Third in the both the Group 2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano and the Group 3 Prix du Prince d'Orange at 1 1/4 miles last summer, Allybar handed a half-length beating to Crowded House, the Brian Meehan-trained winner of the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy in 2008 who had finished second in the Group 3 Al Rashidiya on turf in his Meydan debut on Feb. 4. Calvados Blues, winner of the Group 3 Prix de Guiche at Longchamp last May for Godolphin, was third, 3 1/4 lengths behind the favored runner-up. The winning time was 1:57.05.