07/18/2002 12:00AM

Prix M. de Nieuil wide open


The Group 2 Prix Maurice de Nieuil is the highlight of a quiet European weekend at Maisons-Laffitte on Saturday as racing across the Atlantic takes a slight breather before the frenetic action awaiting at Ascot, Deauville, and Goodwood.

Lengthened last year from 1 9/16 to 1 3/4 miles, the Maurice de Nieuil has drawn an evenly matched field of five stayers, any one of whom would not seem out of place in the winner's circle. The Andre Fabre-trained Polish Summer, second last time to Ange Gabriel in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud when he finished in front of Aquarelliste, will be a mild favorite. British invader Boreas, second for Luca Cumani in both the Yorkshire Cup and the Curragh Cup at the Nieuil distance, rates the second choice.

Just behind them, there is little to choose from among Pushkin and Miraculous, the first two in a 1 15/16-mile listed event last time, or Clety, who has been first or second in his last four starts at staying distances. Clety, trained by Francois Doumen, may be the Nieuil's best value with Thierry Thulliez aboard.