02/09/2006 1:00AM

Jack Sullivan victorious in Round 2


Jack Sullivan landed his second consecutive Maktoum Challenge-Round 2 at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday night as he held off the renewed bid of Round 1 winner Blatant to record a one-length victory in the Group 3, $200,000 prep for the Dubai World Cup.

Last seen finishing 12th in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 29, Jack Sullivan covered the 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.36, a time 2.19 seconds faster than he recorded when winning last year. This time he tracked the pace set by Blatant, surged to the lead under Eddie Ahern, then held off the Blatant's renewed challenge. Blatant had won Round 1 of the Maktoum Challenge by 9 3/4 lengths.

British all-weather specialist Eccentric closed fast to be third on Thursday, a nose behind Blatant, while Lundy's Liability was sixth, beaten 13 1/2 lengths.

Trained by the Oxfordshire, England-based Gerard Butler, Jack Sullivan had followed his 2005 Maktoum Challenge score with a victory in the listed one-mile Burj Nahaar prior to finishing fourth behind the Americans Roses in May, Dynever, and Choctaw Nation in the Dubai World Cup. This year, however, he will skip the March 25 World Cup in favor of the Group 2 Godolphin Mile on the World Cup undercard, Butler said.