09/27/2002 11:00PM

Hawk Wing runs and loses; 'Rock' sits


ASCOT, England - Trainer Aidan O'Brien decided to run Hawk Wing rather than Rock of Gibraltar in Saturday's Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot, but Hawk Wing, at 1-2, could only finish second to the 7-1 Where or When in the mile race.

O'Brien actually brought both Rock of Gibralatar, who has won seven straight Group 1 races, and Hawk Wing to Ascot from his Ballydoyle yard in County Kildare, Ireland - a 900-mile round trip - with the intention of running only one of them.

Earlier in the week O'Brien said he intended to run Rock of Gibraltar if the course was soft and Hawk Wing if it was good to firm. On Friday, a three-foot hole was found in the stretch, and Ascot's riders said the dry course had been over-watered. Those factors added drama as to whether O'Brien would risk the "Rock."

In the end he chose Hawk Wing, and the Woodman colt looked briefly the winner just inside the furlong pole when he collared his pacesetter Sholokhov. But his lead was short lived, as listed stakes winner Where or When sped past to record a two-length victory in 1:41.37 on good to firm ground. Best of the Bests finished last of five, 7 1/2 lengths in arrears.

Where or When, trained by Terry Mills and ridden by Kevin Darley, will not run again this year, but the futures of Hawk Wing and Rock of Gibraltar are anybody's guess.

So as not to make the trip to Ascot a complete washout, Rock of Gibraltar worked a mile on the track after the last race. He and Hawk Wing are both still being considered for the Breeders' Cup Mile or BC Classic at Arlington Park on Oct. 26.

$6.4 million yearling loses again

O'Brien had no better luck in the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes when his $6.4 million yearling Van Nistelrooy was beaten into third place by Al Jadeed. Sent off as the 7-4 favorite off a second to Refuse to Bend in the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh, Van Nistelrooy trailed for the first six furlongs of the one-mile juvenile event. When Michael Kinane finally got him untracked, it was too late as Al Jadeed, 3-1, had flown.

Al Jadeed, a Kentucky-bred son of Coronado's Quest, led from the quarter pole and held off the late challenge of Bahamian Dancer by a head, getting the mile in 1:42.21. Van Nistelrooy was another 1 1/2 lengths back.

Al Jadeed was stepping up from an allowance race win for trainer John Gosden. He will not run again this year, but Bahamian Dancer could reappear in either the Grand Criterium at Longchamp on Sunday or the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster on Oct. 26.

Soviet Song stays unbeaten

Soviet Song extended her record to 3 for 3 with an impressive 1 1/2-length victory in the Group 1 Fillies Mile. Trained by James Fanshawe, Soviet Song drew clear approaching the furlong pole under Oscar Urbina and won the uphill race in 1:42.32.

Winner of the listed Sweet Solera Stakes over Summitville, Soviet Song, by Marju, promises to be a keen contender for next year's 1000 Guineas.

Malhub nipped again

Crystal Castle nipped Malhub by a short head in the six-furlong Group 2 Diadem Stakes, but it is Malhub who may run in the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

Crystal Castle, who shipped to Ascot from Chantilly, won his third straight. His trainer, John Hammond, said, "He will go for the Dubai Golden Shaheen next. The Breeders' Cup Sprint will have to wait until next year."

The luckless Malhub, who was a nose second to Invincible Spirit in the Group 1 Haydock Park Sprint Cup, could be headed to the Sprint.

"I will discuss the options with his owner, Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum," said trainer John Gosden. "He would like the good ground for the Hong Kong Sprint, but we will also talk about the Breeders' Cup."