09/03/2003 11:00PM

Oasis Dream class of Sprint Cup

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Oasis Dream will use the $353,000 Haydock Park Sprint Cup at six furlongs on Saturday as a springboard to the Breeders' Cup Mile.

Winner over Australian speed demon Choisir in the six-furlong July Cup, and the handy winner of the five-furlong Nunthorpe Stakes at York on Aug. 21, Oasis Dream appears to have a class edge on his nine Sprint Cup rivals.

A John Gosden-trained son of Green Desert, Oasis Dream can go to the front or sit off the pace. In either case, Oasis Dream and rider Richard Hughes would emerge victorious with a repeat of either of Oasis Dream's last two performances.

Among those chasing him will be The Tatling, a five-furlong Group 3 winner who was second by 2 1/2 lengths in the Nunthorpe, and Airwave, last year's 2-year-old filly champion in Britain who beat older colts in the Group 2 Temple Stakes at five furlongs in May. She has since been second to Choisir in the King's Stand Stakes and third behind Oasis Dream and Choisir in the July Cup.

Oasis Dream may be something special. Last year's European juvenile champ by dint of his victory in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes, a six-furlong race, he was widely proclaimed as the best European sprinter since Dayjur after his Nunthorpe victory, in which he led throughout, quickening clear at the quarter pole. His time of 56.20 was just .04 of a second off Dayjur's 1990 track record, but Gosden felt that he would have broken the mark if Hughes had not eased up a bit near the line.

Oasis Dream is described by Gosden as "a thorough professional." Victory at Haydock would be his fourth at the Group 1 level, assure him of the European sprint championship, and send him on his way to Santa Anita.