02/03/2009 12:00AM

Asiatic Boy, My Indy clash in Dubai prep

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Two of Dubai's three leading candidates for the Dubai World Cup will be on view at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday night when Asiatic Boy and My Indy clash in Round 2 of the Maktoum Challenge. The Group 3, 1 1/8-mile contest, with a price tag of $200,000, has produced only one World Cup winner in its 15 previous runnings, that being Moon Ballad in 2003, but this year's renewal is considerably stronger than recent runnings taken by the likes of Lucky Find, Kandidate, and Jack Sullivan.

Asiatic Boy was a distant second to Curlin in last year's World Cup and has not run since that March 29 outing. A course specialist, he has won 5 of his 7 starts on the Nad Al Sheba dirt, among them the 2007 UAE Derby. The Argentine-bred is trained by Mike de Kock, who is keeping last year's UAE Derby winner Honour Devil in his barn to await Round 3 of the Maktoum Challenge on March 6. Johnny Murtagh flies in to take his regular seat aboard Asiatic Boy, who returned off a similar 10-month layoff last year to win the Group 3 Al Shindagha Sprint.

But in My Indy he will be meeting an improved horse who is coming off a handy 5 3/4-length victory in Round 1 of the one-mile Maktoum Challenge on Jan. 15. Godolphin's Argentine-bred was returning off a 10-month absence of his own that day and should be even sharper for the effort. Frankie Dettori will be aboard My Indy, who appears to be much better than when he was beaten three times by Honour Devil last winter.

The Jerry Barton-trained Chilean-bred Don Renato was third to My Indy in Round 1 of the Maktoum Challenge and also was third in last year's Godolphin Mile behind Diamond Stripes and Elusive Warning. He is one to take note of in the exotics with Michael Kinane riding.

The $200,000 Cape Verdi Stakes, a 1 1/8-mile turf contest newly upgraded to Group 3 status, has attracted four intriguing fillies from around the world seeking a spot in the Dubai Duty Free or the Dubai Sheema Classic.

From Germany, Andreas Wohler brings Peace Royale. A Group 3 mile winner in Cologne and Hamburg, she was most recently second versus colts in the Group 2 Oettingen-Rennen going 1 1/4 miles at Baden-Baden on Sept. 2.

De Kock will saddle Front House, an Irish-bred Sadler's Wells-Darshaan cross who won the 1 1/2-mile Group 2 Clairwood Oaks in South Africa in July.

England's Michael Channon has Eva's Request. The winner of the listed one-mile Rosemary Handicap at Ascot on Sept. 27, she was a seven-furlong Group 3 winner at 2.

The wild card is Deem. An Irish-bred Dalakhani-Sadler's Wells cross, this Barton trainee brings a perfect record on dirt from Saudi Arabia, where she aired in all three of her starts.