02/19/2002 1:00AM

Sakhee to prep for World Cup Thursday

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Sakhee will have his sole prep for the Dubai World Cup in a 1 1/4-mile conditions race at Nad Al Sheba Thursday night. The race, with Frankie Dettori slated to be in the saddle, will be the first start for Sakhee since his narrow loss to Tiznow in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Oct. 27.

Godolphin has decided to use this largely intramural event instead of Round 3 of the Maktoum Challenge, a Group 2 contest scheduled for Feb. 28, to prepare Sakhee for the world's richest race.

Sakhee, the handy winner of the Juddmonte International and the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe will be making his first start since revealing an aptitude for dirt in the Breeders' Cup Classic. He will face stablemates Atlantis Prince, a Group 2 winner in England at two who has not run since finishing 16th in the Italian Derby last May, and Lord Of The Manor, the winner of 1-of-3 when trained by Andre Fabre.

Dubai veterans Pentagonal and Siege, owned by sons of Sheikh Mohammed, pose little threat. The Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Aslaaf, a distant third behind E Dubai in the Al Bastikiya last April, is in the race for place.

On the same card, Triple Crown nominee Imperial Gesture, runner-up to her Godolphin stablemate Tempura in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, makes her first start for Saeed bin Suroor in the Moonshell Mile. She will be tested by Seba, an Alzao filly who won the listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot but who is making her first start on dirt.