01/31/2006 12:00AM

Europeans look best in Duty Free prep


A trio of European listed race winners could have Thursday night's running of the Group 3, $200,000 Al Rashidiya all to themselves at Nad Al Sheba. The highlight of an eight-race, $950,000 card, the 1 1/8-mile Al Rashidiya is the first of three course-and-distance preps for the $5 million Dubai Duty Free on March 25.

Alayan and Linngari are both lightly raced 4-year-olds. Alayan, trained by John Oxx, won the 1 1/4-mile Kilternan Stakes at Leopardstown on Sept. 10, while Linngari, now with Herman Brown, won the Superior Mile at Haydock Park for Michael Stoute on Sept. 3. The improving Linngari may have a slight edge, as illustrated by his best Timeform rating of 120, compared with Alayan's 118.

Etesaal, a Danzig 6-year-old who won Goodwood's 1 1/4-mile Found-ation Stakes last out on Sept. 21, sports a Timeform best of 117. His listed score came for Saeed bin Suroor and Godolphin, but he will be saddled Thursday by Ismail Mohammed for Sheikh Mohammed's son Hamdan.