02/05/2004 12:00AM

New shooter on sprint scene

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Godolphin's runners flopped in the UAE 2000 Guineas at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday, when the Argentine-bred Little Jim made off with that Group 3 mile. But it was the brilliant South African champion National Currency who stamped himself as an international threat with a big win in the listed Al Shindagha Sprint.

Runner-up on Dec. 14 to the unbeaten Silent Witness in the Hong Kong Sprint, National Currency was making his first start on dirt in the Al Shindagha, a key prep for the Dubai Golden Shaheen on Dubai World Cup night, March 27. He led throughout to defeat Persuasivo Fitz by 6 1/2 lengths, getting the straight six furlongs in 1:10.12.

Under Frankie Dettori, Rosencrans tried to lead all the way in the UAE 2000 Guineas, but Little Jim was clearly best, beating Jack Sullivan by 2 1/2 lengths. Rosencrans faded to third while another Godolphin starter, Sutter's Fort, was a dull ninth.

* On Saturday, Godolphin will send out Catstar in the UAE 1000 Guineas, while Northern Rock heads the Group 3 Al Fahidi Fort, a one-mile turf contest won last year by Ipi Tombe.