05/12/2006 12:00AM

Rhein Kraft heads Mile


The Japan Racing Association will introduce a new race at the Grade 1 level at Tokyo on Sunday: the $1.6 million . The race has attracted a full field of 18 fillies and mares, of which the standout undeniably is Rhein Kraft.

An End Sweep 4-year-old trained by Tsutomu Setoguchi, Rhein Kraft followed her neck defeat of the subsequent Japanese and American Oaks winner Cesario in last year's Japanese 1000 Guineas with a victory over colts in the Grade 1 NHK Mile Cup. Coming off an impressive April 8 score in the seven-furlong Grade 2 Hanshin Himba Stakes, she is a deserving favorite breaking from an ideal post 6 with Yuichi Fukunaga aboard.

Dance in the Mood, the 2004 Japanese 1000 Guineas winner, went off form after her second-place finish to Ticker Tape in the American Oaks two years ago. A Sunday Silence 5-year-old, she looked more like her old self on April 15, when she ran second to males in the Grade 2 Yomiuri Mile Cup and looks like the main threat to the choice. She will break from the rail, from where jockey Hiroshi Kitamura must work out a clean trip in the big field.

Yutaka Take jumps off Dance in the Mood in favor of Air Messiah, the Sunday Silence filly who was a neck second to Cesario in the Japanese Oaks before catching Rhein Kraft late in the 1 1/4-mile Grade 1 Shuka Sho. Breaking wide from post 18, she probably prefers longer than this mile, although she was three lengths second to Rhein Kraft in the Hanshin Himba Stakes. Dia de la Novia, third in last year's Japanese Oaks and third in the Yomiuri Milers Cup, is a threat on her best.

* At Kranji Racecourse on Sunday, the Group 1, $1.9 million Singapore Airlines International Cup at 1 1/4 miles features the Godolphin-owned Valixir, Japanese Grade 1 winner Cosmo Bulk, and recent Dubai Sheema Classic third Falstaff. To be ridden by Frankie Dettori, Valixir will wear blinkers for the first time.