06/25/2004 12:00AM

Day Flight poised to upset


Day Flight is in a position from which he can spring an upset over the Epsom Derby winner, North Light, in the $1.5 million Irish Derby at The Curragh on Sunday.

The 20-length winner of the listed Glasgow Stakes at York in his next-to-last start, Day Flight led from the three-eighths pole to the sixteenth pole in the French Derby on June 6, staying on well to be fourth, beaten only 1 1/4 lengths by Blue Canari.

By Sadler's Wells, Day Flight is out of Bonash, a Rainbow Quest mare who won the 1 1/2-mile Group 2 Prix de Malleret. Trained by John Gosden, he will be ridden by Richard Hughes.

But the 12-1 Day Flight will have to overcome the first four finishers in the Epsom Derby, among them stablemate Percussionist. More to the point, there is North Light to contend with.

The 4-5 antepost favorite, North Light won his 2004 debut, the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York. By Danehill out of the Rainbow Quest mare Sought Out, winner of the 2 1/2-mile Group 1 Prix du Cadran, he is assured of staying 1 1/2 miles and is clearly the horse to beat with Kieren Fallon aboard for trainer Michael Stoute.

Almost as dangerous will be Rule of Law. Runner-up to North Light in both the Dante and the Epsom Derby, he was supplemented to the Derby by Godolphin after having missed the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot because of a minor infection.

Third in the Epsom Derby and Dante, Let the Lion Roar has had his chances, while the Dermot Weld-trained Grey Swallow is suspect beyond a mile. In search of his fourth Irish Derby, Aidan O'Brien is substituting quantity for quality, as Moscow Ballet, Book of Kings, Cobra, and Tycoon are deserving longshots. O'Brien, however, does have a chance for a placing with the 16-1 Five Dynasties, winner of the King Edward VII.