06/16/2004 12:00AM

Rakti takes over in Prince of Wales

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Rakti established himself as the best older horse in Europe with a convincing victory in the Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot on Wednesday.

Formerly trained in Italy, where he won the 2002 Italian Derby, the 5-year-old son of Polish Precedent has improved steadily since being turned over to Michael Jarvis by owner Gary Tanaka. Second to Nayef in the Prince of Wales last year when he suffered an injury, Rakti later won the Champion Stakes before chasing home Falbrav, who also started his career in Italy, in the Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin.

This year's Prince of Wales, at $640,000 the richest race of Royal Ascot's five-day meeting, was Rakti's first start since his Sha Tin adventure, and he served notice that he could well emulate Falbrav's achievements this season.

After overcoming early rankness under Philip Robinson, Rakti rallied to the lead 1 1/2 furlongs from the line to defeat Powerscourt by two lengths as the 3-1 second choice. Sulamani, Godolphin's 5-2 favorite, was up for fourth behind third-place Ikhtyar but finished a nonthreatening four lengths behind the winner, who got the 1 1/4 miles in 2:04.95 on ground labeled good to firm, firm in places. Phoenix Reach finished sixth in his first start since taking the Canadian International on Oct. 19.

Rakti's effort in the Prince of Wales looks every bit as good as that of Fantastic Light in 2001 and nearly as good as that of Dubai Millennium a year earlier. Rakti will be one to keep close tabs on throughout 2004.

A second Godolphin favorite bit the dust when 6-5 Crimson Palace faded to sixth behind the victorious Favourable Terms in the Group 2 Windsor Forest Stakes, introduced this year as a new one-mile race for older fillies and mares. Favourable Terms is a 4-year-old Selkirk filly trained for Maktoum al Maktoum by Royal Ascot expert Michael Stoute.

Listed-placed last year when she won three of five starts, the 6-1 Favourable Terms was making her first start since Oct. 4. She came from midpack under Kieren Fallon and won going away, two lengths in front of Monturani. Gary Stevens lost all chance aboard the Stoute-trained Chic when she clipped heels and almost went down at the quarter pole, ultimately finishing seventh of 10. The winner's time on the straight mile was 1:40.37.

The 6-1 Kheleyf healed some of Godolphin's wounds when he beat 14 foes in the Group 3 Jersey Stakes. Highly regarded by the Dubai team, the 3-year-old son of Green Desert defeated mild 5-1 favorite Fokine by 1 3/4 lengths. Ridden by Frankie Dettori, Kheleyf covered the seven furlongs in 1:27.35 in his first start since Oct. 3.