04/10/2003 12:00AM

Elusive City in Guineas prep


Elusive City will attempt to get his checkered career back on track as he prepares for the 2000 Guineas in the seven-furlong Group 3 Greenham Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

An Elusive Quality colt trained by Gerard Butler for The Thoroughbred Corp., Elusive City won the six-furlong Group 1 Prix Morny at Deauville last August. Seven weeks later, though, he was just third behind European juvenile champ Oasis Dream in the six-furlong Middle Park Stakes. Insult was later added to injury when he was stripped of victories in a maiden race and the Group 2 Richmond Stakes because of drug positives.

Two course-and-distance winners, Makhlab, who took the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes on Oct. 25, and Muqbil, who won the listed Washington Singer Stakes in his debut on Aug. 16, could spoil things for Elusive City.

* Crystal Star, a course-and-distance winner at Newbury in the listed Radley Stakes on Oct. 26, rates a solid choice in the seven-furlong Group 3 Fred Darling Stakes, the season's first major prep for the 1000 Guineas. Cassis, twice placed at six furlongs in Group 2 events, could present the stiffest challenge.