03/06/2004 1:00AM

Victory Moon winner in Dubai


Victory Moon threw down the Dubai World Cup gauntlet to Medaglia d'Oro, overcoming trouble to score an authoritative victory in Round 3 of the Maktoum Challenge at Nad Al Sheba on Saturday night.

Trained in South Africa by Mike de Kock and ridden by Weichong Marwing, Victory Moon looked as if he was in trouble, pinned against the inside rail with nowhere to go, passing the three-sixteenths pole.

But Marwing kept a cool head, switching Victory Moon out to the center of the track, and managed to get to the lead with 150 yards to run and then drove clear to win by 2 1/4 lengths.

The winning time of Victory Moon, a 4-year-old son of Al Mufti, for the 1 1/4 miles on fast dirt was an unspectacular 2:03.30.

The runner-up was the Turkish-trained Dinyeper, who led for a stride inside the final furlong. Naheef, from the powerful local Godolphin operation, was third, another 3 1/4 lengths back, after having led much of the way.

* Bright Sky was pronounced "spot on" for the March 27 Dubai Duty Free at Nad Al Sheba by trainer Elie Lellouche after finishing second by a head to Polish Summer in Saturday's 1 1/4-mile Group 3 Prix Exbury at Saint-Cloud. Polish Summer is expected to make his next start in the Dubai Sheema Classic at Nad Al Sheba.