07/03/2001 11:00PM

Four star over holiday weekend


EDMONTON, Alberta - Over the four-day Canada Day holiday last weekend, Northlands Park held three stakes and an allowance race that included three-time Sun Sprint winner Timely Ruckus.

The fireworks began June 29 with a victory by Northern Neechitoo in the $30,000 Wild Rose for older fillies and mares. A 5-year-old trained by Floyd Arthur, Northern Neechitoo wired a solid field, winning by eight lengths, and replaced Oh Tee at the top of the older filly and mare division.

Brighton Belle wired a field of the top 3-year-old fillies here in Saturday's $30,000 Chariot Chaser. It was the first stakes for 3-year-old fillies at the summer meet. Brighton Belle, trained by Rod Heggie and ridden by Chris McGregor, was never pressed.

On Sunday, the $33,675 Western Canada for 3-year-olds brought out some of the top local candidates for the Aug. 25 Canadian Derby.

With Fancy As absent from the race, there was an opportunity for another horse to step up, and Sixthirtyjoe did exactly that by easily defeating five opponents, running the six furlongs in 1:17.60. Sixthirtyjoe's performance implies that Fancy As will will not go unchallenged at Northlands this year.

On Monday, the 8-year-old Timely Ruckus showed he still has the touch, easily winning a one-mile allowance. Although his best races were at shorter distances, Timely Ruckus, trained by Ernie Keller, had no trouble going wire to wire under Stephan Heiler.

* Heading into Friday, Heiler was leading the jockey standings with 12 wins, followed by Real Simard and Rickey Walcott, with seven apiece.