09/21/2005 11:00PM

QE II should yield top milers


Any number of clues to European representation in the Breeders' Cup will be revealed at Newmarket on Saturday, when Dubawi, Rakti, and Starcraft clash in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, while Ouija Board finally returns to the races in the Group 3 Princess Royal Stakes.

The one-mile, $360,000 Queen Elizabeth II should produce the main challengers to Leroidesanimaux in the Breeders' Cup Mile. In Dubawi, Godolphin Racing has itself the most accomplished son of Dubai Millennium, who won this race in 1999. Out of Zomaradah, winner of the E.P. Taylor and Italian Oaks, Dubawi has lived up to his potential with a pair of Group 1 mile victories in the Irish 2000 Guineas and the Prix Jacques le Marois, the latter at the expense of Whipper, Valixir, and Divine Proportions, all of them Group 1 mile winners. With Frankie Dettori in the irons, he may be capable of even better, especially if the ground turns a bit softer than good.

Rakti won the QE II last year on Ascot's right-handed, uphill mile. With a new grandstand under construction at Ascot, this year's renewal will be on Newmarket's straight and undulating Rowley Mile, but that will not be a problem for Rakti, a Michael Jarvis-trained son of Polish Precedent. He broke the course record on Newbury's straight mile by 1.6 seconds on May 14, winning the Lockinge Stakes by five lengths. He has been absent since June 14, however, when he ran second to Valixir in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot at York, and he may be in need of a race.

Not so Starcraft, the New Zealand-bred winner of last year's Australian Derby who slammed Whipper and Valixir into fourth and fifth when he led throughout to win the Group 1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp on Sept. 4. Now with Luca Cumani in Newmarket, Starcraft, a Soviet Star 5-year-old, will have as his rider Christophe Lemaire, a Frenchman who will be having his first ride over the hallowed Rowley Mile course.

Ouija Board's summerlong odyssey in search of a race ends with her appearance in the 1 1/2-mile Princess Royal for fillies and mares. Unseen since June 15, when she suffered a stress fracture in the Prince of Wales's Stakes, she would have to win Saturday in order to stand a viable chance of defending her Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf title.

The Group 1, $315,000 Fillies Mile is a juvenile face-off between Nasheej, winner of the one-mile Group 2 May Hill Stakes, and Nannina, winner of the seven-furlong Group 3 Prestige Stakes. High Heel Sneakers, runner-up in the May Hill, takes the spoiler's role, but the choice to upset is Cross Channel, a Giant's Causeway half-sister to Exchange Rate who was a 2 1/2-length Newmarket maiden winner last time.