10/06/2002 11:00PM

'Jewel' definite for FM Turf


PARIS, France - Irresistible Jewel was confirmed as a definite starter for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf by her trainer Dermot Weld, despite a 4-length defeat at the hands of Bright Sky in the 1 1/4-mile Group 1 Prix de l'Opera at Longchamp on Sunday.

The winning daughter of Wolfhound left Irresistible Jewel flailing in her wake as she sped by to record a decisive victory in 2:02.30. The even money choice was adding to her Prix de Diane (French Oaks) title and certainly appreciated the return to ten furlongs after having failed in the 1 1/2-mile Prix Vermeille.

But, according to her owner Alec Wildenstein, Bright Sky will not be at Arlington Park on Oct. 26 as the Filly & Mare Turf "comes too soon after the Opera for a 3-year-old filly."

Weld, however, has no such compunctions concerning his 3-year-old daughter of Danehill, Irresistible Jewel, who will arrive in Chicago with a resume that includes victories in the 1 1/2-mile Group 2 Ribblesdale Stakes and the 1 1/4-mile Group 3 Blandford Stakes.

"If I had trained the winner (Bright Sky), I would have run her in the Arc," Weld quipped. "We were just beaten by a better horse on the day, but we'll be at Arlington for the Filly & Mare Turf."

Weld also informed that his Sun Chariot Stakes winner Dress To Thrill is not necessarily a definite for the Breeders' Cup Mile.

"She will go in either the Mile of the Matriarch Stakes at Hollywood later on," he said. "I haven't made up my mind."

Hold That Tiger had mouths gaping wide with a remarkable last-to-first tally in the Group 1 Grand Criterium. The Storm Cat juvnile was still last of fourteen at the eighth-pole when angled very wide by Kieren Fallon. Hold That Tiger turned on the afterburners to defeat the game Italian-trained pacesetter La Vie dei Colori by half a length while getting the seven furlongs in 1:20.40.

Aidan O'Brien had been mystified by his colt's last-place finish in the Phoenix Stakes on Aug. 11, but Hold That Tiger now looks like championship material. We should not expect to see him attempt to duplicate Johannesburg's heroics in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, however, as owner Michael Tabor pointed out that nine furlongs might be a trip too far for him at this stage.

With Russian Rhythm having been beaten in Friday's Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket, Six Perfections went a long way towards clinching European juvenile filly honors with her authoritative victory in the one-mile Prix Marcel Boussac.

Breaking from the rail, Six Perfections was allowed to settled in fifth by Thierry Thulliez before swooping to lead 150 yards form the line to win going away from Etoile Montante by two lengths. Sent off at 4-5, the Andre Fabre-trained Six Perfections was timed in 1:37.90 while adding to her Group 3 win in the 7-furlong Prix du Calvados.

The John Dunlop-trained stayer Give Notice ran out a 6.20-1 head winner of the 2 1/2-mile Group 1 Prix du Cadran over Pushkin in a race in which third-place Polish Summer and fifth-place Persian Punch were both disqualified and placed last for a bumping incident in mid-stretch.

But it was Polish Summer who seemed to be the sole cause of the trouble as he bore over onto the tiring pacesetter Persian Punch, who then bumped with eventual seventh Tiger Groom.

There was controversy of another kind in the Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp.

Continent and Slap Shot battled to the line in the straight 5-furlong Group 1 sprint. It was too close to call in the end, but Slap Shot's rider, Mirco Demuro, took it upon himself to make up the photo judge's mind for him.

He returned to the paddock winners' enclosure aboard the Italian-trained Irish-bred son of Lycius in triumph, waving his fist in the air and even going so far as to execute a flying dismount from a standing position on Slap Shot's back. This was grandstanding of the worst sort, especially as the judge was still studying the photos.

Demuro went further, declaring on television how happy he was "to win the Abbaye."

It all came back to hit him full in the face when the photograph showed the David Nicholls-trained Continent to be the winner by a nose. Demuro was left to slink away in shame, a victim of his own premature ejockulation.

Ridden forcefully by Darryll Holland to get the bob on the line, Continent was timed in :57.20 to add to his victory in this summer's 6-furlong Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket. But even in the unlikely event that Continent tries the Breeders' Cup Sprint, that title will certainly remain in America as this indifferent bunch of European sprinters lack one key ingredient: speed.