03/02/2006 1:00AM

Electrocutionist handles dirt

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Electrocutionist served notice to any Americans contemplating a trip to Nad Al Sheba for the Dubai World Cup that he is a force to be reckoned with following his impressive seven-length romp in the Group 2 Maktoum Challenge on Thursday night.

Making his dirt debut in the 10-furlong, $300,000 event, Electrocutionist transferred his excellent turf form to the main track with aplomb, albeit against 13 vastly inferior rivals. Always close up in fourth or fifth, he quickened under Frankie Dettori to lead at the quarter pole and won going away in a fast time of 2:01.06. Last year's winner, Chiquitin, was second, with Elmustanser another 2 1/4 lengths away in third.

Purchased by Godolphin Racing from Earle Mack late last fall, Electrocutionist had previously been trained in Italy by Valfredo Valiani, for whom he won the Group 1 Juddmonte International Stakes at York in August. He appears to be at home on any surface and may well be deserving of favoritism in the world's richest race on March 25.

Godolphin is no stranger to the Maktoum Challenge winner's circle. The stable used victory in this race as a springboard to World Cup success twice before, winning with Dubai Millennium in 1999 and Street Cry in 2002.

Godolphin had less luck with Valixir in the Group 2, $250,000 Jebel Hatta, a course and distance prep for the 1 1/8-mile Dubai Duty Free. Formerly trained by Andre Fabre, Valixir led much of the way before being nailed by Touch of Land at the eighth pole, then fading to finish seventh while spotting the rest of the field six to eight pounds. Trained by Henri-Alex Pantall and ridden by Christophe Lemaire, Touch of Land held off the Vincent O'Brien-owned Lord Admiral by 1 1/4 lengths while getting the distance in a pedestrian 1:52.05 on a turf course labeled good.

Godolphin was equally unlucky in the 1 1/2-mile, Group 3 Dubai City of Gold, a $200,000 prep for the Dubai Sheema Classic. Godolphin stablemates Cherry Mix and Sights on Gold finished seventh and 10th behind the victorious Mike de Kock-trained South African-bred Oracle West, who defeated Alayan by 1 3/4 lengths in 2:33.89.

Tropical Star, second in last year's Dubai Golden Shaheen, prepped nicely for that six-furlong sprint in the Group 3, $200,000 Mahab Al Shimaal. Always close up, Tropical Star led after three furlongs and drew clear to win by 2 1/4 lengths from Azul da Guanabara despite drifting right throughout the last quarter. His time for the straight six furlongs was 1:10.92.

Marbush made mincemeat of 15 rivals in the Group 3, $200,000 Burj Nahaar, a course and distance trial for the Godolphin Mile. The 5-year-old Marbush sped clear to beat Win River Win by 7 1/4 lengths, crossing the line in 1:35.79.

The highly touted Simpatico Bribon delivered the goods in the 1 1/8-mile, $150,000 Al Bastikiya. A Chilean-bred trained by Ian Jory, Simpatico Bribon ran out a six-length winner over Where's That Tiger despite spotting the runner-up 15 pounds. He will now go toe-to-toe with stablemate and UAE 2000 Guineas winner Gold for Sale in the UAE Derby, in which the two Southern Hemisphere 3-year-olds will be strongly favored over their Northern Hemisphere rivals.