09/29/2003 11:00PM

Falbrav racks up another win in QEII

Email

ASCOT, England - "He is the best horse in the world," proclaimed Luca Cumani, after Falbrav had produced another brilliant effort to win the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

In landing his fourth Group 1 victory of the year and the seventh of his career, Falbrav was winning for the first time going a mile since breaking his maiden in his career debut in September, 2000. He was also bouncing back from a very unlucky loss to High Chaparral in the Irish Champion Stakes, although Cumani's appeal to overturn that result and award the race to Falbrav will be heard by the Irish Turf Club on Oct. 20.

The 14-runner Queen Elizabeth field was reduced to eight with the withdrawal of six horses due to the ground, which was labeled "good to firm, firm in places." Dubai Destination's rabbit Blatant went to the lead but the 3-2 Falbrav settled well in second, followed by Dubai Destination and Russian Rhythm.

Enetring the straight Dubai Destination backed up while Falbrav, ridden by Darryll Holland, charged to the front at the 3/16's pole. No sooner did Russian Rhythm throw down her challenge than Falbrav asserted himself to win by two longish looking lengths, traveling the largely uphill mile in a fast 1:38.99.

"I've never had a horse as good as Falbrav, and I doubt if I'll ever have one as good again," said Cumani, who is best known in America for training Barathea to win the Breeder's Cup Mile in 1994. "He always has his mind on his work and never puts a foot wrong."

Falbrav's QEII triumph adds to victories this season in the 1 1/8-mile Prix d'Ispahan , and the Eclipse Stakes and the Juddmonte International, both at 1 _ miles, but Cumani is still trying to convince owners Scuderia Rencati to ante up the $180,000 necessary to get the 5-year-old son of Fairy King into the Breeders' Cup Turf.

As for runner-up Russian Rhythm, she is unlikely to run in the Mile, while all plans for Godolphin's Dubai Destination are on hold after his dull last place finish.

After Moscow Ballet had finished second in the opening Royal Lodge Stakes, Aidan O'Brien withdrew all of his remaining runners on the card, among them the Fillies Mile favorite, Necklace. That made the job of Red Bloom so much easier. Trained by Michael Stoute for Cheveley Park Stud, the Selkirk filly scored a 3-1 triumph in the Group 1 mile for juvenile fillies, defeating Sheikh Mohammed's Japanese-bred Sundrop by 1-1/4 lengths with the 13-8 choice Puctillious, a recent purchase by Sheikh Mohammed, a short head further back in third.

Snow Ridge came with a scintillating late run to snatch the Royal Lodge Stakes by three quarters of length from Moscow Ballet. Trained by Marcus Tregoning, the Indian Ridge 2-year-old had taken his only previous start, a 7-furlong Kempton allowance, by 3-1/2 lengths.

Martin Dwyer timed his ride perfectly in guiding Snow Ridge to a 15-8 victory in the Group 2 mile. Moscow Ballet, a Sadler's Wells half brother to Stravinsky, got up for second by a head from Rule Of Law, who had opened up a two-length lead approaching the furlong pole. The winning time was 1:41.19, which lasted as the new Ascot track record for juveniles going a mile for just 35 minutes until Red Bloom clocked 1:40.81 in the Fillies Mile.