11/16/2007 12:00AM

Becrux facing 17 in Kyoto

EmailBecrux carries the weight of the world into Kyoto Racecourse on Sunday when he will be the lone foreign entrant in the $1.7 million Mile Championship.

An Italian-bred 5-year-old owned by Team Valor and Gary Barber and trained by Neil Drysdale, Becrux has been in Japan since Nov. 6 preparing for this Grade 1 contest in which he will face 17 locally trained challengers.

The winner of the Wickerr Handicap and runner-up in the the Del Mar Mile Handicap this summer, Becrux prepped for his Japanese odyssey with a speed-sharpening third-place finish in the 6 1/2-furlong Morvich Handicap at Santa Anita on Oct. 27.

Drysdale has taken the unusual step of importing one of England's leading young jockeys, Ryan Moore, for the ride.

"We did a strong five-furlong gallop with him on Wednesday morning at Kyoto, and it was

pretty good," Drysdale said. "We wanted to get him accustomed to the right-handed course, which is the opposite of what he's used to in the States.

"He's not good on soft ground," Drysdale added, "so we're hoping it doesn't rain."

Rain or not, Becrux faces a tough task. He will be facing the defending title-holder and Yasuda Kinen winner Daiwa Major (a half-brother to last Sunday's Queen Elizabeth II Commemora-tive Cup winner Daiwa Scarlet); Eishin Dover, winner of the Keio Hai Spring Cup; Koiuta, the Victoria Mile winner who ran ninth in the CashCall Mile; and Pink Cameo, winner of the NHK Mile Cup. They are all perfectly suited to a mile.

It is Daiwa Major, a Sunday Silence 6-year-old, who is most likely to prevent Becrux becoming the first foreign-trained horse to win this race.