02/06/2007 1:00AM

Imperialista tries Round 2


Imperialista, the Brazilian-bred winner of Round 1 of the Maktoum Challenge on Jan. 18, will try to notch Round 2 of the Challenge at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday night. A Southern Hemisphere 3-year-old, Imperialista will be sporting new colors for a new trainer in the 1 1/8-mile, Group 3, $200,000 contest.

Formerly trained by Cosme Morgado for Estrela Energia Stables of Brazil, Imperialista has since been purchased by Majid bin Mohammed Al Maktoum. One of Sheikh Mohammed's sons, he has turned Imperialista over to local trainer Ismail Mohammed, who will give a leg up to Irishman Michael Kinane, who must overcome the disadvantageous outside post in a field of 14.

A 1/4-length winner of the one-mile Round 1 Maktoum Challenge, Imperialista will receive 12 pounds on the scale as the only 3-year-old in the field. He will be challenged once again by Round 1's third-place finisher, Golden Arrow, as well as by the Clive Brittain-trained Kandidate, the winner two back of the 1 1/2-mile Group 3 September Stakes on the Kempton Polytrack.

Stage Gift, a Group 3 winner last time in October going 1 1/8 miles on turf at Newmarket, and Mulaqat, a 1 5/16-mile Group 3 winner at Haydock, pose threats if they can reproduce their turf form in their first starts on dirt.

* The same card has drawn a competitive renewal of the one-mile Cape Verdi Stakes, a $150,000 turf listed race for older fillies and mares. The Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Sanaya, second to Germance in the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary, and the Mikael Delzangles-trained Afaf, who beat Sanaya into third in the Group 3 Prix Fille de l'Air, will be tested by Godolphin's highly regarded Vista Bella, who has not been sited since finishing third in the 1000 Guineas in May, 2005.