08/21/2003 11:00PM

Northern Affair a clear upset threat


WINNIPEG, Manitoba - Fancy Bru is the 3-2 morning-line favorite meeting five rivals in Sunday's $35,000 Harry Jeffrey for 3-year-old colts and geldings.

Owned by the partnership of Ed and Jim Pawluk and trainer Gary Danelson, Fancy Bru is proven at the 1 1/8-mile distance.

Fancy Bru, a half-brother to multiple stakes winner and champion Fancy As, is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Manitoba Derby behind Hero's Pleasure, Taiaslew, and Pants N Kisses. He finished three lengths in front of fellow Harry Jeffrey entrant Northern Affair in that race. Leading rider Travis Hightower will ride.

Northern Affair, owned by K-5 Stable and trained by Keith Corbel, is a possible upsetter. The Subordination colt was relaxed and raced close to the pace in the Manitoba Derby until the final turn, where he took a run at pacesetter Taiaslew before tiring.

That was Northern Affair's first start at 1 1/8 miles and the race represented a big class raise. Now that he has a little more seasoning, his tactical speed could make him the horse to beat.

Second-leading rider Juan Crawford was named to ride Northern Affair at the draw but was taken off by the stewards and Mike Iammarino was named.

Crawford was suspended recently, but is appealing the decision in the judicial system.

Suntana appears to be the dominant speed of the race, but he will probably face some pressure from either Northern Affair or Fancy Bru.

Suntana, trained by Blair Miller, comes into the race off a romping wire-to-wire win over restricted company in the 1 1/16-mile North Dakota Stallion Stakes.

Suntana performs much better when he can open up a clear lead and he likely will try to do that here with Anderson Ward aboard.

Rounding out the field are Wild Ruler, Beetrap, and Zalema.

Wild Ruler won last year's Buffalo Stakes at 46-1 and will likely rally late. If the pace is hot and a duel develops, he could roll by them all.

Beetrap, eighth in the Manitoba Derby, comes off a second-place finish in an allowance sprint. Zalema, who won his maiden for a $40,000 claiming tag earlier this year at Woodbine, has yet to show that form locally.