01/23/2007 12:00AM

Brazilians poised again in Dubai


Para-Choque will attempt to pick up where Imperialista left off and become the second Brazilian-based horse in a week to gain a Group 3 victory at Nad Al Sheba. The effort will come Thursday night in the six-furlong $200,000 Al Shindagha Sprint, the first local prep for the Dubai Golden Shaheen.

Para-Choque won Brazil's championship turf sprint, the Grande Premio Major Suckow, before finishing second in a five-furlong Group 3 stakes last out on Sept. 17. His two previous victories, however, were both on dirt by a combined 11 3/4 lengths, an indication he will have no trouble adapting to Nad Al Sheba's straight six-furlong dirt course.

A Brazilian filly, Aliysa, looms large, especially as she is a Southern Hemisphere 3-year-old who will receive 16 pounds from Para-Choque. Aliysa won her first three starts in Brazil, two of them Group 3 dirt sprints, before finishing second in a Group 2 sprint on dirt.

The Brazilians appear to have an edge over the Dandy Nicholls-trained British pair of Tax Free and Tournedos, both of whom will be making their dirt debuts. The local hopes are the Erwan Charpy-trained Botanical, a Seeking the Gold 6-year-old who was third in the 2005 Golden Shaheen but only sixth in his reappearance on Dec. 24, and Tropical Star, the winner of the Group 3 Mahab Al Shimaal over the Al Shindigha course and distance last March.