10/31/2007 12:00AM

Watch for sharp horses rising in class

EmailETOBICOKE, Ontario - Sometimes the simplest handicapping angles can yield the most dividends, and the notion of backing sharp horses who are rising in class has been quite profitable lately at Woodbine.

A prime example came in the Oct.o21 Canadian International, which was won by an 18-1 overlay, Cloudy's Knight.

Based in Chicago with trainer Frank Kirby, Cloudy's Knight edged heavily favored Sky Conqueror for second the first time he ran here, Aug. 26, in the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes. He shortened up from 1 1/2 miles to 1 3/8 miles for his second local appearance, in the Grade 2 Sky Classic Stakes, and got the job done after a four-wide stalking trip, while returning $8.90.

Cloudy's Knight was overlooked in the Grade 1 Canadian International because of the influx of sharp European shippers in the 1 1/2-mile event, most notably Ask and Quijano. After tracking a slow pace on the outside, Cloudy's Knight opened up a clear lead in the stretch, and then held on to prevail by a nose over favored Ask.

Cloudy's Knight has come a long way since finishing third in back-to-back listed stakes last winter at Fair Grounds, and the improvement he showed during the second half of the year telegraphed his peak performance in the International.

On the International undercard, Cobotown Ron scored at a generous 13-1 in a first-level allowance. He had finished first in three of his four previous outings, all in lower claimers, and was full of run before coming out on top Oct. 10 in a $20,000 event, in which he was disqualified for bumping a rival at the top of the stretch, as he sought running room.

Last Saturday's card saw three upwardly mobile fillies tally at a square price - Like a Gem, Shilla, and Twice a Princess.

Like a Gem dropped from graded stakes company to capture an Oct. 12 optional claimer as the favorite, and then won last Saturday's River Memories Stakes at nearly 5-1.

Shilla established herself as one of fastest 2-year-olds at Woodbine with a handy win as the 5-2 second choice in the Fanfreluche Stakes, for which she got a 94 Beyer Figure. It was the third straight triumph for Shilla, who graduated at even money before taking a first-level allowance at 5-1.

Twice a Princess plunged in value when beating $12,500 opposition in her next-to-last race. She won a $32,000 claimer at nearly 6-1 Saturday, which was the same level at which she was victorious Aug. 10.

Awesome Action stood out in last Sunday's Labeeb Stakes on current form. He finished just 4 1/4 lengths in arrears when seventh two starts back in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, a salty race that produced Breeders' Cup Turf winner Kip Deville.

Awesome Action returned a respectable $6 as the favorite in the Labeeb, even after winning a tough classified allowance with a 99 Beyer on Oct. 5.

More the Mari'er dangerous shipper

Fort Erie shipper More the Mari'er could make some noise at a decent price in Friday's fifth race at Woodbine, an open $8,000 sprint for fillies and mares.

More the Mari'er has won three of her last four races, all on the dirt. She's coming off a determined victory over $10,000 nonwinners-of-four opposition, and possesses many of the highest recent Beyers in Friday's field.

More the Mari'er's early-season Polytrack form was dreadful, but she won her maiden over the synthetic surface last year at 2, and might not mind the surface switch simply because she's in peak form.