03/06/2003 12:00AM

Aquarelliste heads Exbury

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Aquarelliste will have her French swan song at Saint-Cloud on Saturday. As she prepares for a possible start in the Dubai World Cup, she will run in the 1 1/4-mile, Group 3 Prix Exbury, the first European group race of the year.

A three-time Group 1 winner in France, Aquarelliste was most recently second in the 1 1/2-mile Hong Kong Vase on Dec. 15. If she is successful on Saturday, she is likely to run on dirt for the first time in the World Cup, but her trainer, Elie Lellouche, also has the Dubai Sheema Classic as an option. Afterward, she is slated to be bred to Sadler's Wells.

A 5-year-old Danehill mare, Aquarelliste will face six foes in the Exbury, among them Group 3 winners Fair Mix, Caesarion, and Imperial Dancer, plus the multiple Group 1-placed Border Arrow, who will be the first stakes-race starter for trainer Andrew Balding since he took over the Kingsclere yard of his retired father, Ian, this winter.