02/08/2007 12:00AM

Kandidate romps in Dubai


Kandidate threw his hat into the Dubai World Cup ring with a clear-cut victory in Round 2 of the $200,000 Maktoum Challenge at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday night.

Ridden by the 2006 British champion jockey, Ryan Moore, Kandidate bounced out of the gate from a disadvantageous 12 post and never looked back, trouncing runner-up Mullins Bay by 5 3/4 lengths and covering the 1 1/8 miles of the Group 3 contest in 1:49.40.

Imperialista, the Round 1 Maktoum Challenge winner and making his first start for new trainer Ismail Mohammed, came home a nonthreatening ninth, 15 lengths behind the winner.

Trained by Clive Brittain, Kandidate is a 5-year-old British-bred son of Kabool who had won his last three tries on synthetic tracks in England, among them the 1 1/2-mile Group 3 September Stakes at Kempton on Sept. 2. He had finished no better than fourth in four previous attempts on the Nad Al Sheba dirt track, but he is clearly a better horse now than at any previous point in his career, during which he has also shown some good turf form, having finished third in the 2000 Guineas in 2005 and won a 1 1/4-mile listed race at Sandown last July.

Before the March 31 World Cup, Brittain will first send Kandidate in Round 3 of the Maktoum Challenge at 1 1/4 miles on March 1.

* Sanaya, five times second in French stakes races last year, found the Nad Al Sheba turf course to her liking, as she emerged from traffic to win the listed $150,000 Cape Verdi Stakes by 3 3/4 lengths from Team Valor's South African-trained Alexandra Rose. Trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre for the Aga Khan and ridden by Christophe Soumillon, Sanaya covered the mile on good ground in 1:38.56. She is headed for the Dubai Duty Free on the Dubai World Cup undercard.