10/13/2005 11:00PM

Lord Nelson less than a lock

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VANCOUVER, British Columbia - Lord Nelson is the horse to beat in the $100,000 Premier's at Hastings on Sunday, but he could be vulnerable.

The 1 3/8-mile fixture drew 11 3-year-olds and up, including British Columbia Derby winner Spaghetti Mouse and Blowin in the Wind, who will try and repeat his win in the 2004 Premier's.

When Lord Nelson finished sixth in the 1 1/8-mile Sir Winston Churchill on Sept. 24, it was the first time he didn't hit the board at Hastings since May 6, 2001. But it's not hard to throw out that race, considering it was his first start since he won the Johnny Longden Handicap on June 4, and he was giving weight to a very tough field of horses that included 2004 B.C. Derby winner Flamethrowintexan and Longacres Mile runner-up Quiet Cash.

The 2004 horse of the year in British Columbia, Lord Nelson didn't run a bad race. He made a strong move to reach contention at the top of the stretch and then noticeably tired in the stretch. His trainer, Dino Condilenios, isn't sure if he got enough out of the race to be at his best going the taxing distance of the Premier's, though.

"He's trained very well since the Churchill, but I would have liked to get at least one more race into him before going a mile and three-eighths," he said.

Lord Nelson has tried 1 3/8 miles once in his tremendous career, finishing second to Fancy As in the 2001 Premier's and earning a 95 Beyer Speed Figure.

He'll be ridden on Sunday by his usual rider, Frank Fuentes.

Trainer David Forster was happy to hear that rain was forecast through the weekend. He trains Blowin in the Wind, and the 6-year-old gelding moves up considerably on a wet track. Blowin in the Wind, or "Dylan" as he's called at the barn, won this race over a sloppy track last year, and he's been either first or second in six starts over wet tracks. In his last race he hopped at the start and then made a late run to finish fifth in the Churchill.

Spaghetti Mouse, trained by Gary Demorest, scored an $85.60 upset in the British Columbia Derby Sept. 24. Boxed in for the first seven furlongs, he responded with a powerful stretch run to win by 3 1/2 lengths over Bull Ranch, who also is entered here.