10/20/2008 12:00AM

Keeping tabs on the Euros


Jeremy Noseda, a man who knows his way around Santa Anita, thanks to training in Southern California in 1996 and 1997 after having assisted at Godolphin in the development of European champions Balanchine and Lammtarra, worked his two very dangerous Breeders' Cup candidates last Friday at different venues, but on synthetic surfaces nonetheless.

Sixties Icon, likely favorite for the Marathon, worked a mile on Lingfield's Polytrack surface. He blew by Group 3-placed Whistledownwind when asked, and Noseda expressed himself pleased with the move around the left-handed circuit. Fleeting Spirit, an unlucky fifth in the re-run of the Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp and current second favorite with William Hill for the Turf Sprint, had a blowout on Newmarket's Al Bahathri Polytrack surface and was pronounced "ready to go" by Noseda.

* Godolphin, ice-cold throughout most of the European season, is suddenly red-hot. Last Saturday, Saeed bin Suroor sent out All the Good to a big victory in the 1 1/2-mile, Group 1 Caulfield Cup Handicap, Australia's major prep for the two-mile Melbourne Cup on Nov. 4. Back in England the same day, Suroor saddled the first two home in Newmarket's two-mile, Group 3 Jockey Club Cup with Veracity and Sagara.

Godolphin has had five times as many Grade 1 winners in North America this year as it has in Europe, with Music Note scoring in the Mother Goose, the Alabama, and the Gazelle; Cocoa Beach in the Beldame; and Folk Opera in the E.P. Taylor. In contrast, only Creachadoir has managed a Group 1 in Europe, that coming in the one-mile Lockinge Stakes back in May. Music Note and Cocoa Beach will challenge Zenyatta in the Ladies' Classic, while Folk Opera goes in a highly competitive Filly and Mare Turf. Godolphin will also have Diabolical in the Turf Sprint. An improved second last time in Ascot's Group 2 Diadem Stakes, the 5-year-old Diabolical has not run in America since taking Saratoga's A.G. Vanderbilt two summers ago.

Will Sheikh Mohammed be tempted to switch any of the three 2-year-old colts he has in Cup races to Godolphin should any of them be successful on Saturday? Bob Baffert saddles the Darley-owned Midshipman in the Juvenile, while Coronet of a Baron goes for Eoin Harty in the Juvenile Turf, for which Cheryl Asmussen has City Style. Victory could see any of them with Rick Mettee in New York or bin Suroor in Dubai before the end of the year.

* Last Saturday's Champions Day results at Newmarket offered some clues as to where a number of British and Irish raiders may fit into the scheme of things this weekend. New Approach's smashing six-length victory in the Champion Stakes paid a high compliment to Classic hopefuls Henrythenavigator and Duke of Marmalade. Henrythenavigator had beaten New Approach into second in both the 2000 Guineas and the Irish 2000 Guineas, while Duke of Marmalade had him back in third in the Juddmonte International.

Bushranger, already a hot item in the Juvenile, looks hotter after Intense Focus took the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes. Intense Focus had finished seven lengths behind Bushranger in the Group 3 Anglesey Stakes in July. Since then, Bushranger has won a pair of Group 1 contests.

Unsung Heroine, three lengths second to Turf candidate Conduit in the St. Leger Stakes, showed just how difficult it is to cut back from 1 3/4 miles, 166 yards to 1 1/2 miles when she finished second to Crystal Capella as the 11-8 favorite in the Group 2 Pride Stakes.

Aspen Darlin's 2 1/4-length second to Lahaleeb in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes for 2-year-old fillies does not offer much hope to three European fillies going in Cup races. Aspen Darlin had previously been a half-length second in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes, a race in which Juvenile Fillies hopeful Pursuit of Glory had been third with Juvenile Fillies Turf runners Heart Shaped fifth and Beyond Our Reach ninth.

* If the 7-year-old Lord Admiral finds a way to win the Mile, he will provide an emotional curtain call for his 91-year-old owner Vincent O'Brien, the supreme Thoroughbred trainer who teamed with Lester Piggott for Royal Academy's memorable Breeders' Cup Mile victory at Belmont Park in 1990.