05/23/2001 11:00PM

Medievil Hero tries to shed label of underachiever


ETOBICOKE, Ontario - Medievil Hero was trained by Bill Mott before being transferred to Mary Jo Lohmeier in April 2000.

And if fate had cooperated with the story line, Medievil Hero would have been looking to upstage the Mott-trained Del Mar Show in Saturday's featured Connaught Cup at Woodbine.

But when 17 horses passed the entry box for the Connaught, the race was split and Medievil Hero drew into the first division with Del Mar Show in the second.

Lohmeier, not surprisingly, is not complaining.

"When I look at Del Mar Show's pp's, I remember my first impression when I saw him on the nominations list," said Lohmeier. I thought 'I hope he doesn't come.'"

Medievil Hero, owned by Joseph Lacombe, is a half-brother to Favorite Trick, the Eclipse Award winner as Horse of the Year and champion male 2-year-old in 1997.

Although he graduated in his second lifetime outing, Medievil Hero came to Lohmeier with two wins and nine in-the-money finishes from 18 starts and a reputation as an underachiever.

Since then he's 4 for 14, with nine in-the-money finishes, and has a legitimate shot at becoming a stakes winner in his Woodbine debut.

"He's bigger and stronger, physically, this year," said Lohmeier. "But he's changed probably more mentally; he's a lot more confident. A lot of it is just maturity."

Medievil Hero has won two of five outings this season, including a smart allowance score over 1 1/16 miles of turf at Keeneland last time out, but Lohmeier believes his record would be much better were it not for a couple of unfortunate trips in his first two races at Gulfstream.

"In his first race there was a very slow pace; they were just crawling," said Lohmeier, noting that Medievil Hero had made up 10 lengths only to fall a head short. "The next time he was boxed in, and checked, and boxed in again . . .

"He's a nice horse. When he gets a good trip, he fires every time. Actually, he even fires with a rough trip. He's just been unlucky."

Rea Sea intends to stick around

Red Sea also is coming off an impressive allowance victory at Keeneland and will be making his first start at Woodbine in the first division of the Connaught Cup.

But unlike Medievil Hero, Red Sea will be staying awhile.

"There's lots of racing here for him," said Roger Attfield, who trains Red Sea for Prince Fahd Salman.

Red Sea, an English-bred 5-year-old, raced in England and France at 2 and his second-place finish in the Group 2 Grand Criterium at Longchamp earned him a trip to Churchill Downs for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

He finished 12th of 13 there after breaking through the gate prior to the start and then returned to England for another campaign with trainer Paul Cole before being sent to California and conditioner Neil Drysdale.

After making just two starts for Drysdale, Red Sea was missing from action for more than 13 months before resurfacing with Attfield for a turf allowance at Gulfstream Park. Although Red Sea finished 11th that day, Attfield was encouraged by the performance.

"I didn't like the way the turf course was down there but he did handle it; he just had all kinds of trouble," said Attfield.

"He was smashed around; he was stopped three times. He ran a good race, actually, and it set him up for the Keeneland race."

Red Sea indeed was a horse of a different color in that next start in Kentucky, rallying to a 1 3/4-length victory in a 1 1/16-mile turf allowance.

Muntej may prefer more ground

Attfield also will be represented in the Connaught's second split.

Muntej, owned by the trainer and a host of partners, twice saw action on the Keeneland turf this spring, finishing a close fourth in a 1 1/16-mile allowance and then ending a non-threatening sixth in the Grade 3 Elkhorn over 1 1/2 miles.

A 4-year-old who also was bred in England and began his career there, Muntej became a stakes winner in the Grade 2 Sky Classic over 1 3/8 miles of yielding going here last September.

"This race is probably a bit short for him," acknowledged Attfield. "But there's nothing else right now for him."