06/11/2004 11:00PM

Six Perfections, Haafhd run opening day


Royal Ascot begins its prestigious five-day meeting on Tuesday with a pair of Group 1 miles that will highlight the talents of Breeders' Cup Mile winner Six Perfections and 2000 Guineas champ Haafhd.

The Queen Anne Stakes, run on Ascot's undulating straight mile for 4-year-olds and up, will be the second start of the season for Six Perfections, who was upset by Italian invader Prince Kirk in the Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan at Longchamp on May 31. But that was the Pascal Bary-trained filly's first start since the Breeders' Cup, and, at 1 1/8 miles, the race may have been a little too far for her.

Six Perfections won the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville over a straight mile last August, and with the very good English filly Russian Rhythm missing the race, it is difficult to see past her.

Another French filly, Nebraska Tornado, could be dangerous if trainer Andre Fabre and jockey Gary Stevens can get her to cooperate. Last of five in the Ispahan in her seasonal debut, the Juddmonte colorbearer was reluctant to load and ran nothing close to the form that brought her the French Oaks and the Prix de Moulin de Longchamp last year.

Soviet Song romped home by six lengths in the Group 2 Ridgewood Pearl Stakes at The Curragh on May 22, but she could be rerouted to Wednesday's Windsor Forest Stakes, the Royal Meeting's new Group 2 mile for fillies and mares. Among the colts, Hurricane Alan and Martillo are recent Group 2 winners, while last year's 2000 Guineas winner, Refuse to Bend, is a shell of his former self.

A sharp work on Saturday morning assured Haafhd of his place in the St. James's Palace Stakes for 3-year-old colts. The Barry Hills-trained son of Alhaarth was a most impressive winner of the 2000 Guineas and is probably good enough to turn back the challenge of the French 2000 Guineas runner-up, Diamond Green.

Trained by Fabre, Diamond Green was hampered by the erratic Antonius Pius in both his starts this year and will be dangerous with a clear run around the St. James's one-turn, largely uphill mile.

Aidan O'Brien trainee Antonius Pius would have won the French 2000 Guineas but for having crashed into the rail after taking the lead in deep stretch. He will threaten if Jamie Spencer can get him to keep a straight line.

Eoin Harty's American invader Lydgate will be ridden by Frankie Dettori in the Group 2 King's Stand Stakes at five furlongs, but he is in tough against experienced British sprinters Frizzante, Patavellian, The Tatling, and The Trader.