06/13/2004 11:00PM

Rakti has edge in Prince of Wales


Rakti rates a slight edge over Sulamani in Royal Ascot's Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes on Wednesday when both 5-year-olds will make their belated seasonal debuts.

Carrying a value of $635,000, the 1 1/4-mile Prince of Wales has been won in recent years by Dubai Millennium and Fantastic Light. First prize is $369,000.

Trained by Michael Jarvis, Rakti won the Group 1 Champion Stakes last October before finishing a sharp second to the redoubtable Falbrav in the Hong Kong Cup, both at the Prince of Wales distance. Last year, Rakti, a son of Polish Precedent, finished a game second in this race to Nayef, sustaining a hairline fracture to his left hind fetlock. That form looks superior to the 10-furlong record of Sulamani, who won his only 2003 start at the distance when he lucked into the Arlington Million.

Phoenix Reach will be making his first start since taking the Canadian International in October, while a revivified Bandari is coming off a pair of 1 1/4-mile victories versus lesser. More dangerous is the Aidan O'Brien-trained Powerscourt, who led throughout to win the 1 5/16-mile Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh on May 23.

The one-mile Windsor Forest Stakes for older fillies and mares will have its inaugural run as a Group 2 event, but the best eligible fillies - Six Perfections, Nebraska Tornado, and Soviet Song - have all opted for the Queen Anne Stakes against males on Tuesday.

Actirce won the newly upgraded Group 2 Prix Corrida going 1 5/16-miles at Saint-Cloud last time and may find this straight mile too short. Italian invader Marbye took the June 2 Premio Emilio Turati, a Group 2 mile, and was a close third behind Bright Sky and Six Perfections in the one-mile Group 2 Prix d'Astarte at Deauville last August, but the preference is for Crimson Palace from the Godolphin stable. Her first start in England was a winning one in the Group 3 Middleton Stakes at 1 1/4 miles, and jockey Frankie Dettori has chosen the South African-bred filly over her stablemate Gonfilia, recent winner at Epsom of the newly upgraded Group 3 Princess Elizabeth Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.