07/03/2003 12:00AM

Islington a threat to Nayef


Nayef, recent winner of the Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot, heads a field of 15 in Saturday's Group 1 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park.

A son of Gulch trained by Marcus Tregoning, Nayef defeated Arlington Million probable Rakti by 2 1/2 lengths at Ascot, with Eclipse rivals Olden Times, Falbrav, Kaieteur, and Grandera finishing fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh. But his most dangerous rival may be the filly Islington.

A daughter of Sadler's Wells, Islington was third in the Prince of Wales's and has been working well for trainer Michael Stoute. With Kieren Fallon aboard, she could be the one to benefit should Nayef and rider Richard Hills falter.

In the 1 1/4-mile Eclipse, with its uphill four-furlong stretch, two of the five 3-year-olds in the lineup are in a position to take advantage of the 11 pounds they will be receiving from Nayef on the European scale of weights.

Norse Dancer finished fourth, 2 1/2 lengths behind the victorious Kris Kin, in the Epsom Derby, in which the subsequent Irish Derby winner, Alamshar, was third. Norse Dancer, a son of Halling, will be better suited by 10 furlongs. The same is true of the improving Delsarte, son of Theatrical who was second in the 1 1/2-mile Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes last month.