02/14/2006 12:00AM

Three head UAE Guineas


The $250,000 UAE 1000 Guineas at Nad Al Sheba on Thursday night looks like a three-way contest between two European group race-placed fillies, Deveron and Vague, and a South African Group 1 winner, Rock Opera.

Races in common with the European juvenile filly champion Rumplestiltskin leave little to choose between Deveron and Vague. A daughter of Cozzene, Deveron finished 2 1/2 lengths - third behind Rumplestiltskin in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac, while Vague, an Elusive Quality filly trained by Jeremy Noseda, was 2 3/4 lengths - fourth behind her in the Group 2 Debutante Stakes. Vague, however, may hold a slight edge by dint of a victory in a seven-furlong Nad Al Sheba allowance in her dirt debut on Jan. 26, when she had seven of her 10 Guineas rivals behind. Michael Kinane, who rode Gold for Sale to victory in last week's UAE 2000 Guineas, has the ride.

Rock Opera could be the spoiler. Trained by Alec Laird, she capped her 4-for-4 2005 campaign in South Africa with a win in the six-furlong Group 1 Allan Robertson Fillies Championship. She showed promise in her Jan. 19 Nad Al Sheba debut when she was a troubled but fast-closing third in a 7 1/2-furlong turf handicap behind subsequent listed winner Clinet and two-time French Group 3 winner Satwa Queen. The listed one-mile Guineas will be her first start on dirt.