06/15/2003 11:00PM

Falbrav ready for Moon Ballad


Falbrav is in a position to upset Dubai World Cup winner Moon Ballad in the $585,000 Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot on Wednesday.

Trained in Italy last year to win three Group 1 races including the Japan Cup by a nose from Sarafan, Falbrav is now with Luca Cumani at Newmarket. The 5-year-old son of Faity King won the Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan by 1-1/2 lengths from Bright Sky going 1 1/8-miles, 55 yards last month at Longchamp and should relish the good to firm ground with top Italian rider Mirco Demuro aboard.

Moon Ballad, who cruised to a 5-length victory over Harlan's Holiday in Dubai, returns to turf in his first start since his World Cup heroics on March 29. Though a half length second to Storming Home in last October's Champion Stakes at the Prince of Wales's 1 1/4-mile distance, the Godolphin inmate may be a bit better on dirt and so could be vulnerable, not only to Falbrav, but to World Cup third Nayef, and his Godolphin stablemate, World Cup fourth Grandera.

Juddmonte International winner Nayef and defending Prince of Wales champ Grandera are also making their first starts since the World Cup, providing two more reasons to back the in-form Falbrav. Nine of the eleven starters in this sterling field are Group 1 winners, the other five being Kaieteur, Olden Times, Paolini, Rakti and the filly Islington.

America America is likely to be the first American-trained runner in the history of Royal Ascot when she lines up in the $108,000 five-furlong Group 3 Queen Mary Stakes for juvenile fillies. Trained by Florida-based Frenchman Franck Mourier, the daughter of Mister Baileys was a head second in a 3-furlong ungraded stake at Gulfstream on April 24. She will be ridden by Gary Stevens but appears up against it facing the likes of the unbeaten quartet Attraction, Catstar, Malaica and Vermillian.

Stevens will be aboard Membership in the $125,000 seven-furlong Group 3 Jersey Stakes for 3-year-olds. The Clive Brittain trainee was a good third in the listed European Free Handicap to subsequent Irish 2000 Guineas winner Indian Haven and may be good enough to take the measure of Monsieur Bond, who was an unlucky sixth in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.