12/13/2001 1:00AM

Forbidden Apple one to beat in Mile

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HONG KONG - Forbidden Apple and Morluc are in a position to succeed where they narrowly failed last year on the rich Hong Kong Cup undercard at Sha Tin on Sunday.

Forbidden Apple has been attracting support in the Group 1, $1.8 million Hong Kong Mile all week long. With last year's first two finishers, Sunline and Fairy King Prawn, absent, Forbidden Apple can improve on his good fourth behind Fantastic Light, Greek Dance, and Jim and Tonic in last December's Hong Kong Cup with a victory over the tough German mare, Proudwings, and the Japanese Grade 1 winner, Zenno El Cid.

Proudwings, disqualified from victory in the Prix Jacques le Marois in August following a pair of Group 2 scores at a mile, prepped with a listed tally in the Capital Stakes at Tokyo. Zenno El Cid, a Caerleon colt whose dam, Embla, provided Angel Cordero with his sole European Group 1 victory in the Middle Park Stakes, beat fellow Japanese invader Eishin Preston in the prestigious Mile Championship.

But Forbidden Apple, who will be ridden by Corey Nakatani, beat everything but the excellent Val Royal in the Breeders' Cup Mile. A repeat of that effort will find him nailing down the $1.015 million first prize.

China Visit, who beat Jim and Tonic in the Prix du Rond-Point on Oct. 6, would benefit if the rains came but it is expected to be dry and cool in Hong Kong through the weekend.

Morluc will not only have to overcome the challenge of Australia's defending champ, Falvelon, in the $1.02 million, Group 2 Hong Kong Sprint, but an unfortunate 14 post in a field of 14 as well.

But the draw is not quite as bad as it seems as the Sprint is a five-furlong straight race. Morluc will be helped in his bid to overturn his head loss a year ago to Falvelon if Robby Albarado can find another speedster to run with early on as it is dangerous to be isolated in races run on straight courses.

Neither Nuclear Debate, back for a third try in the Sprint, nor last year's third-place finisher, King of Danes, have impressed of late, but a challenge could come from the consistent British gelding The Trader.

Zindabad, disqualified from third after a rough trip in the Canadian International, is good enough to take the $1.8 million Group 1 Hong Kong Vase for trainer Mark John. The 3-year-old Zindabad is suited by the Vase's 1 1/2 miles and can take the measure of Dubai Sheema Classic upsetter Stay Gold as well as Daliapour, who has gone off form since winning this race last year. The American hope White Heart comes off an eighth-place finish in the Japan Cup and would prefer 1 1/4 miles.