05/05/2006 12:00AM

Champ returns in 1000 Guineas


Rumplestiltskin will try to give Aidan O'Brien and Kieren Fallon their second successive 1000 Guineas title at Newmarket on Sunday, when 10 of the 13 fillies in the $607,000 classic mile will be making their first 3-year-old start. On the same card, Breeders' Cup Turf winner Shirocco will make his seasonal debut in the 1 1/2-mile Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes.

Owned by Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and the Niarchos family, Rumplestiltskin was the queen of Europe's 2-year-old fillies last year. With Group 1 victories in the seven-furlong Moyglare Stud Stakes and the one-mile Prix Marcel Boussac, Rumplestiltskin brings a glittering record into the Guineas. Rumplestiltskin is from the family of Miesque, and her dam, Monavassia, is a full sister to Kingmambo, a pedigree that suggests a mile at the highest level is very much her cup of tea.

Fallon, who escaped with a bruised foot in a minor accident at Tipperary on Thursday night, will take his usual place aboard Rumplestiltskin, as well as on George Washington in Saturday's 2000 Guineas. He has, however, taken off all his other rides at Newmarket this weekend.

Rumplestiltskin is quoted as the 4-1 Guineas choice by most firms, just ahead of the 5-1 Michael Channon-trained Flashy Wings.

Donna Blini, who also lines up in the Guineas, beat Flashy Wings into third in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket last fall. She did, however take the Group 2 Lowther Stakes by two lengths from Guineas rival La Chunga, a More Than Ready filly who had previously handed Rumplestiltskin her only defeat in the Group 3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot at York.

O'Brien will also saddle listed winner Race for the Stars, while Godolphin will be represented by Silca's Sister, who is unraced since her victory over colts in the six-furlong Group 1 Prix Morny on Aug. 21. Group 1 Fillies Mile winner Nannina runs for John Gosden, while Nasheej and Speciosa line up with recent Group 3 victories under their belts.

Shirocco's task in the Jockey Club Stakes was made easier with the defections of Scorpion and Mubtaker, but the Andre Fabre-trained Shirocco must still contend with the lightly raced Hard Top, a Michael Stoute-trained son of Darshaan who won the 1 1/2-Mile Group 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes before finishing fifth in Scorpion's St. Leger on unsuitably soft ground.

Silent Witness primed

Silent Witness has two tables to turn if he is to resume his winning ways in the Group 1, $1.03 million Champion's Mile at Sha Tin on Sunday. The first is his half-length defeat at the hands of Joyful Winner in the seven-furlong Queen's Silver Jubilee Cup on April 15. The second is his short head loss to Bullish Luck in last year's Champions Mile in which he suffered the first loss of his career after 17 victories.

Having worked a quarter-mile in a startling 20.40 seconds earlier this week, the Tony Cruz-trained Silent Witness appears poised for a return to the form that has earned him nine Group 1 triumphs between five and and six furlongs. Felix Coetzee will once again be on board.

* At Tokyo on Sunday, Japanese juvenile champion Fusaichi Richard, a fading fifth in the 1 1/4-mile Japanese 2000 Guineas on April 16, should appreciate the turn back in distance in the $1.59 million Grade 1 NHK Mile.