08/21/2002 11:00PM

Beau Ring looks good, but is no sure thing


SASKATOON, Saskatchewan - Six older horses will compete in Saturday's 1 1/8-mile Fred Mendel Memorial at Marquis Downs, and while Beau Ring should be the public's choice to repeat in the race, his task will not be an easy one.

Beau Ring has won 15 of 24 starts and earned $101,969, putting him among the best Saskatchewan-breds of all time.

The divisional champion in each of his first three seasons, Beau Ring appears ready for his 5-year-old campaign to take off. Three weeks ago, Beau Ring competed in the 1 1/16-mile allowance prep for the Mendel and drew clear down the stretch to win by five lengths.

Last year's victory in the Mendel started a four-race winning streak for Beau Ring, all in stakes, that culminated in the Assiniboia Gold Cup over the ever-tough Kalfaari and Smoky Cinder.

Victorious Type was a proven stakes horse in British Columbia and Alberta in his younger days, and his victories in the Premier's Handicap and the Speed to Spare - both Grade 3's - helped push his earnings to $370,597.

Now a 9-year-old, Victorious Type ran second to Beau Ring in his first outing of 2002 and flattened out in the final quarter.

Victorious Type excels at longer distances, and, given the fact that he ran so well off just a series of long works, should be ready for an even better performance.

Paniolo Gold, 3 for 3 in 2002, is among just a handful of locals ever to defeat Beau Ring, upsetting him in the Toon's Mile here on July 19. Paniolo Gold got away with sinfully easy fractions in that race and drew off down the lane to win by three lengths.

He has not started since then, however, and sports a five-eighths work in a slow 1:07.40, so his readiness may be in question.