11/22/2006 12:00AM

Mo Cuishle will need her best


OZONE PARK, N.Y. - Short on experience but long on talent, Mo Cuishle looks to remain undefeated when she faces her sternest test to date in Friday's Grade 2, $150,000 Top Flight Handicap at Aqueduct.

A daughter of Saint Ballado, Mo Cuishle won her first three starts by a combined 15 lengths, including a 7 1/4-length score in the Grade 3 Monmouth Breeders' Cup Oaks on Aug. 13. An illness has kept her from the races since, but she has been training steadily since early October.

"She got sick a couple weeks after the Monmouth Oaks and missed some time," said trainer Todd Pletcher. "I thought [the Oaks] was a very good effort for the third start of her life."

Though Mo Cuishle's last two starts were around two turns, Pletcher said he doesn't think the cutback to a one-turn mile is an issue. "Shouldn't be a problem," he said. "It's a competitive race, but hopefully she'll run like she did in her first three starts."

Given her breeding - she's out of the Deputy Minister mare Officiate - a wet track shouldn't be a problem either for Mo Cuishle, who breaks from post 5 under Jose Santos.

Still, the potential of a wet track could change the complexion of the Top Flight.

Malibu Mint, the only Grade 1 winner in the field and potential Top Flight favorite, is 0 for 4 on an off-track. She is also wheeling back 20 days after finishing 12th in the Breeders' Cup Sprint and will try to win beyond seven furlongs for the first time.

Trainer James Chapman said he doesn't believe the distance will be a problem, but he would prefer a dry track.

"First time going a mile, I'd rather be on a fast track," said Chapman, who has Eibar Coa to ride from post 3.

A wet track could bolster the chances of Yolanda B. Too, No Reason, and Rahys' Appeal. An off surface would likely force Classy Charm, a one-turn mile specialist, to scratch.

Trainer Richard Dutrow Jr. said he isn't as concerned with a wet surface. He is running Carmandia back just 20 days off a top effort winning the Grade 2 First Flight.

"I know she likes this track, I know she likes one turn, I don't like running her back so quick," Dutrow said. "But she's run so sparingly she might just run a decent enough of a race."

Miss Shop is also running back on 20 days' rest after winning the Turnback the Alarm Handicap at 1 1/8 miles for Allen Jerkens.