11/17/2006 12:00AM

Court Masterpiece takes on Japan's best


Court Masterpiece will challenge Japan's best milers in Tokyo on Sunday in the $1.65 million Grade 1 Mile Championship, in which he will meet Daiwa Major, winner of the Autumn Tenno Sho, and Dance in the Mood, winner of the CashCall Mile.

Trained by Ed Dunlop, who also trains Ouija Board, Court Masterpiece has been mixing it up with Europe's top milers all year. Second to Ad Valorem in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot, he landed the Group 1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood before finishing third behind George Washington and Araafa in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on Sept. 24. Jockey Frankie Dettori will have to work out a trip aboard Court Masterpiece, a Polish Precedent 6-year-old, who will break from the rail in the 18-runner field.

Daiwa Major is cutting back from the 1 1/4 miles of the Autumn Tenno Sho, but he did win the Grade 2 Yomiuri Milers Cup in April, beating Dance in the Mood by three-quarters of a length. Dance in the Mood herself has been beaten by Daiwa Major all three times they have met this year, at a mile, 1 1/8 miles, and 1o1/4 miles.

Daring Heart and Kinetics would both have to improve off recent Grade 3 victories to trouble the favorites, while Grade 1 mile winners Asakusa Den'en, Hat Trick, Logic', and Telegnosis have all been off form of late.

* Bullish Luck beat both Daiwa Major and Dance in the Mood in the Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo on June 4, but he will have his hands full in the Group 2, $385,000 International Mile Trial at Sha Tin on Sunday when he prepares for the Dec. 10 Hong Kong Mile. Only 13th in his Oct. 15 return, he will be facing last December's Hong Kong Cup winner, Vengeance of Rain, and the very dangerous Joyful Winner.

* Silent Witness may not be what he once was, but his fourth-place finish in the Sprinters Stakes at Tokyo last month bodes well for his chances in the Group 2 International Sprint Trial, a five-furlong prep for the six-furlong Hong Kong Sprint. He will receive five pounds from last year's Hong Kong Sprint inner, Natural Blitz, and the vastly improved Sunny King.