07/10/2002 11:00PM

Nielsen weighs Wales option

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FORT ERIE, Ontario - Fort Erie-based Paul Nielsen is sitting on the fence about competing in the Prince of Wales Stakes July 21.

Nielsen trains Le Cinquieme Essai, who would be making his fifth lifetime start in the $500,000 Prince of Wales, the 1 3/16-mile race which is the second leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.

Le Cinquieme Essai, owned by Bill Scott, crushed 12 opponents in an allowance race on Woodbine's turf course last Sunday. Despite breaking from post 12 and racing wide throughout, Le Cinquieme Essai drew out to win by 5 1/4 lengths.

In his previous start here on June 9, Le Cinquieme Essai left the maiden ranks with a 7 3/4-length score. He had been gelded over the winter following fourth and second-place finishes in his first two starts last fall.

"He's not really mentally mature," said Nielsen. "I trained the mare [Words of Royalty] and most of the horses from that family - that whole line - are very late.

"Sunday's race, for a Prince of Wales prep, would have been better had it been three weeks before the race instead of two. If everything falls into place, I'd love to go and win it for Fort Erie."

Nielsen feels Le Cinquieme Essai would have no problem with the 1 3/16-mile distance on the dirt.

"I ran him on the grass because the condition book didn't favor me anywhere," explained Nielsen, "and because I was thinking about the Breeders' Stakes."

The Breeders', the final leg of the Canadian Triple at Woodbine on Aug. 10, is 1 1/2 miles.

Nielsen, 45, is a native of Wales. An uncle involved with show horses provided the spark that set off his career. In 1992, Nielsen saddled Hope for a Breeze for a victory in Woodbine's Canadian Oaks. She won two more stakes that year and was honored with a Sovereign Award.

Two years earlier, in the spring, Nielsen had been sent an untested 3-year-old from the Florida breeding farm of Arthur Appleton. By October, Nielsen got the colt to the races and he won both his 1990 starts.

The runner, Jolie's Halo, was then retrieved by his owner and put into the hands of trainer Happy Alter, who stretched the winning streak to six. In the string were two Grade 1 tallies, the Donn and the Gulfstream Park handicaps.

Malcoha enjoys revival at 10

Malcoha, 10 years old, looks like a serious candidate for the 1 1/16-mile Benburb on the Prince of Wales undercard. After going winless in 10 starts last year, he has won 4 of 8 this season.

A popular performer, Malcoha won the Benburb and Puss N Boots here in 1998 and was named Fort Erie's horse of the year. Trainer Wilf Jones claimed him four starts ago at Tampa Bay Downs for $8,000 out of a sprint race.

In the last two outings, one for $14,000 and the latest, on Monday, for $19,000, Malcoha was asked to go 1 1/16 miles. He responded with two come-from-behind scores.

"I won't run him in the Benburb if the turf is firm," said Jones. "He's an older horse now and he needs a little give in the ground - or a slow main track, if it comes off the turf.

"I am proud of him," Jones added. "The way he is running now, I don't think 1 1/4 miles is beyond him."

* Ruby Park, who would have been favored in Tuesday's $125,000 Rainbow Connection, will be forced to pass up the five-furlong turf stakes for Ontario-sired fillies and mares after being injured at Woodbine earlier this week. Josie Carroll, who trains Ruby Park for Eugene and Laura Melnyk, hopes the mare will be able to return to action soon.