10/16/2002 11:00PM

Dewhurst clears Cup picture


Godolphin will attempt to win the $620,000 Champion Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday with a three-pronged entry of Equerry, Moon Ballad, and Noverre.

And in the seven-furlong, Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes for 2-year-olds, trainer Aidan O'Brien has entered three - Tomahawk, Marino Marini, and Ontario - who also were pre-entered in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. If they run at Newmarket, O'Brien will be represented in the Juvenile by Hold That Tiger and Van Nistelrooy.

The Emirate of Dubai is the official sponsor of the Champion Stakes, so the Maktoums - Dubai's ruling family and the owners of Godolphin - have a vested interest in winning the Group 1 race, which is run over straight 1 1/4 miles. Of the three Godolphin entries, Moon Ballad appears to be the sharpest.

A 3-year-old son of Singspiel, Moon Ballad won the Group 2 Dante Stakes before finishing a distant third behind High Chaparral and Hawk Wing in the Epsom Derby. He is coming off an easy score in the 1 1/4-mile, Group 3 Select Stakes, and with Jamie Spencer in the saddle he looks ready for a winning effort.

Noverre, ridden by Frankie Dettori, is returning to England after a dull sixth in the Atto Mile but would threaten on his sharp third behind Nayef and Golan in the Juddmonte International. Equerry, unbeaten in his first five races, was found out when fourth in the Group 1 Bayerisches Zuchtrennen on Aug. 4.

Henry Cecil will saddle Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam winner Burning Sun. A Danzig 3-year-old, Burning Sun defeated Kaieteur by three-quarters of a length that day.

In the Dewhurst, Group 1 Middle Park Stakes runner-up Tomahawk faces a challenge from Group 2 Royal Lodge winner Al Jadeed. But the Al Jadeed is dropping back from a mile for trainer John Gosden and may find the Dewhurst a little too short. The David Loder-trained Dublin is a Group 3 winner at the distance but was only third last time in the seven-furlong Group 1 National Stakes at The Curragh.

A fourth O'Brien trainee cannot be overlooked. Great Pyramid, a full brother to last year's Dewhurst winner Rock of Gibraltar, was just 2 1/2 lengths behind Hold That Tiger when sixth in the Grand Criterium and has a license to improve.