01/19/2006 1:00AM

Blatant romps in Dubai


Blatant took a bold first step toward the March 25 Dubai World Cup with an impressive 9 3/4-length cakewalk in Round 1 of the Maktoum Challenge at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday.

A gelded 7-year-old son of Machiavellian, Blatant led throughout the mile race, a Group 3 with a $200,000 purse, with Richard Hills aboard. Trained by Ismail Mohammed and owned by Sheikh Mohammed's wife, Princess Haya of Jordan, Blatant had finished third behind Starcraft in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Sept. 28 when he was trained by Saeed bin Suroor for Godolphin. He covered Thursday's mile in 1:36.71 on a fast track, with Cherry Pickings second and Lundy's Liability third, 1 1/2 lengths behind the runner-up in his first start since having finished seventh in the Dubai World Cup last March.