03/05/2005 12:00AM

Chiquitin upsets big guns


American hopes should have risen after a series of inconclusive results at "Super Saturday" at Nad Al Sheba on Saturday night.

International stars Cherry Mix and Yard-Arm proved ineffective on dirt as the unheralded Argentine-bred Chiquitin took Round 3 of the Maktoum Challenge, the final local prep for the $6 million Dubai World Cup.

In the prep for the Dubai Golden Shaheen, a race dominated in recent years by American runners, Estimraar gave a number of nondescript dirt sprinters a sound beating in the Group 3, $200,000 Mahab Al Shimaal.

Cherry Mix, owned by Godolphin, and South African champion Yard-Arm were making their first starts on dirt in the Group 2, $300,000 Maktoum Challenge, but neither was running on at the end of the 1 1/4 miles. Chiquitin, second in the 1 1/8-mile Round 2 of the Maktoum Challenge three weeks ago, relished the extra furlong this time. He led throughout to defeat Elmustanser by 3 1/4 lengths, covering the distance in 2:04.07 on a fast track.

Grand Hombre, the winner of the 2003 Pennsylvania Derby but unraced since finishing fourth in last year's Dubai World Cup, was another three lengths back in third for Godolphin, a head in front of Cherry Mix. Yard-Arm was another three-quarters of a length behind in fifth.

Ruler's Court, making his first start since winning the Norfolk Stakes by 14 lengths in October 2003, finished sixth, beaten 12 lengths.

In the Mahab Al Shimaal, Estimraar pressed the pace of eventual runner-up Chaplinesque before sprinting away to victory. Estimraar had finished a well-beaten second behind three-time Mahab Al Shimaal winner Conroy last time in a handicap, but on Saturday sprinted away to a 2 3/4-length triumph, as Conroy weakened to finish last of 10. Estimraar finished in 1:10.71 but should not offer much of a threat in the Golden Shaheen to the American invaders, including Pico Central.

* In the 1 1/8-mile Al Bastikiya, the Nad Al Sheba test for the March 26 UAE Derby, Parole Board led approaching the quarter pole before drawing off to a 5 3/4-length win over Duque de Enghien.

* Greys Inn, trained by Mike de Kock, powered away from Tycoon to score a 4 1/4-length victory in the Group 3, $200,000 Dubai City of Gold.

* Alkaadhem edged Right Approach by three-quarters of a length in the Group 2 Jebel Hatta, a $250,000 course and distance prep for the 1 1/8-mile Dubai Duty Free.

* Jack Sullivan paid Chiquitin a compliment when he came late to grab the $150,000 Burj Nahaar, a listed prep for the Godolphin Mile. Jack Sullivan had beaten Chiquitin into second in Round 2 of the Maktoum Challenge last time.