10/28/2004 11:00PM

Europe's best skipped Cup

Michael Burns Photo Ltd.
Sulamani's connections chose the Canadian International over the BC.

NEW YORK - The so-called World Thoroughbred Championships at Lone Star Park on Saturday were missing a number of Europe's best.

Timeform's top-rated 3-year-old foreign invaders in this year's Breeders' Cup were Whipper (126), Ouija Board (125), and Diamond Green (123). Its top older horse at Lone Star was Powerscourt at 124. Fifteen older horses in Europe are rated more highly than Powerscourt by Timeform. Seven 3-year-olds have higher marks than Whipper.

Who are they, and why didn't they travel to Texas?


Bago (130) - Was strongly considered for the Classic throughout the summer and fall, but after his Arc triumph the Niarchos family decided to rest him until next year, when he will run in nothing but Group 1's. A tilt at the Classic or Turf at Belmont Park is very much in the picture.

Haafhd (130) - Winner of the 2000 Guineas returned to form with a convincing score in the 1 1/4-mile Champion Stakes on Oct. 16. Was never really in the Breeders' Cup picture and has been retired to Hamdan al Maktoum's Shadwell Stud.

Azamour (129) - Slammed Haafhd in the one-mile St. James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot but faded from Breeders' Cup picture when stepped up to 1 1/4 miles for Irish Champion Stakes victory. His owner, the Aga Khan, who is highly selective about sending horses to the Breeders' Cup, will campaign him next year.

Cherry Mix (129) - Showed great improvement to finish second in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe on ground similar to what he would have found at Lone Star, but trainer Andre Fabre said he was "too young" for the Breeders' Cup Turf. Has since been bought from the Lagardere family by Godolphin and will spend the winter in Dubai, aiming for the Dubai Sheema Classic.

Lucky Story (129) - Earned his high mark with a second-place finish behind Rakti in the one-mile Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, but was then stepped up to 1 1/4 miles for the Champion Stakes, in which he was far back. European 10-furlong turf males are hard to place in the Breeders' Cup, but this one was not prime Mile material anyway.

Grey Swallow (128) - Irish Derby winner was a good fourth in the Irish Champion but flopped when far back in the Arc. He has been invited to run in the Japan Cup on Nov. 28.

North Light (127) - Epsom Derby winner was a good second to Grey Swallow in the Irish Derby. Nagging injuries kept him sidelined until the Arc, in which he led or dueled most of the way before fading to fifth. Trainer Michael Stoute then decided that was enough for this year.

Electrocutionist (125) - Late blooming and lightly raced, he lost his perfect three-race record when a nose second to Shirocco in the Gran Premio del Jockey Club on Oct. 17. Was never considered for the Breeders' Cup but will be back next year with plenty of gas in the tank. As he is owned by an American, Earle Mack, an appearance at Belmont next October is not an impossibility.

Shirocco (125) - Winner of both the German Derby and the Gran Premio del Jockey Club, he is another in a long line of good German middle-distance horses. Would have required a hefty supplementary fee to get into the Turf, for which he was never under consideration. Returns to the races next year.

Acropolis (124) - Late-blooming Arc fourth deferred to stablemate Powerscourt for the Turf. Has been invited to the Japan Cup.

Attraction (124) - Speedy filly miler became the first to win both the 1000 Guineas and the Irish 1000 Guineas this year. Followed with wins in the Coronation Stakes and the Sun Chariot Stakes, but was never under consideration for the Mile, perhaps because she would have had to have been supplemented, even though she seems perfectly suited to the Lone Star turf course.

Quiff (124) - Looked like a Filly and Mare Turf possibility after winning the Yorkshire Oaks by 11 lengths, but was then stepped up to the 1 3/4 miles, 132 yards of the St. Leger, in which she was second. Difficult to ask a 3-year-old filly to cut back from the St. Leger to the Arc, even moreso to a Breeders' Cup race.

Older horses

Doyen (132) - Appeared to be in the same class as Daylami and Fantastic Light after big 1 1/2-mile wins at Ascot in the Hardwicke Stakes and the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. A rare mismanaged campaign by Godolphin then saw him dropped back to 1 1/4 miles for the Irish Champion, in which he was seventh. Returned in spite of announcements to the contrary to finish unplaced in the 1 1/4-mile Champion Stakes. May still wind up as European 12-furlong champion and will return next year, when it is hoped he will be kept to that distance.

Rakti (130) - Versatile winner of the 1 1/4-mile Prince of Wales's Stakes and the one-mile Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, he was considered for the Mile even though it would have required a supplementary fee. That and Lone Star's tight turns and short stretch led trainer Michael Jarvis to decide on a return to Sha Tin, where he was second to Falbrav in last year's 1 1/4-mile Hong Kong Cup, although this time around his first preference is the Hong Kong Mile.

Sulamani (128) - Godolphin's decision to go for the sweeping turns and long stretch at Woodbine proved to be the right one as he landed the Canadian International last week, winning his sixth Group 1 or Grade 1 race in five different countries. Has been retired.

Mubtaker (127) - Like Sulamani, he had a preference for Woodbine, where he was fourth behind Sulamani. Has been invited to the Japan Cup.

Soviet Song (126) - Arguably Europe's most accomplished miler this year, she beat colts in the Group 1 Sussex Stakes and has twice beaten Attraction. Flopped in the Queen Elizabeth II, but was never being considered for the BC Mile.

Firebreak (125) - Godolphin runner is equally adept on dirt, having won the last two Godolphin Miles at Nad Al Sheba, and on turf, over which he recently took the seven-furlong Challenge Stakes. Has always been carefully placed and will winter in Dubai in search of a third consecutive Godolphin Mile.

Var (124) - Ex-Bill Mott-trained claimer came good for Clive Brittain, although his success in Europe is as much an indication of the weakness of the sprinters there. Led throughout to take the five-furlong Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp, and while a return to dirt for the Sprint was mentioned, Brittain has made the wise decision to keep him on five-furlong straight tracks for the time being. He will travel to Sha Tin for a clash with the undefeated Silent Witness in the Hong Kong Sprint on Dec. 12.