03/14/2003 12:00AM

Who's who in the Euro classics


Some of Europe's most promising classic prospects did not rate at the top of the International Classifica-tion's list of 2002 juveniles.

Oasis Dream, trained by John Gosden for Khalid Abdullah, earned a big figure for winning a fast running of the six-furlong Middle Park Stakes. He topped the Classification as well as Timeform's Top 100, but Oasis Dream may not quite be up to the mile of the 2000 Guineas. He is a son of Green Desert, a stallion whose best offspring have been sprinters like Sheikh Albadou, Owington, and Tamarisk.

Seven-furlong Dewhurst Stakes winner Tout Seul, who like Oasis Dream in the Middle Park had Tomahawk chasing him home in second, is by the Royal Academy sire Ali-Royal. He won the Dewhurst going away, but one wonders if Tout Seul, a 25-1 shot, was a fluke that day. Sold in Ireland for just $7,500 as a yearling, Tout Seul, would be the workingman's hero in the Guineas.

Six Perfections was Europe's champion juvenile filly in 2002, and deservedly so. A daughter of French Derby winner Celtic Swing, she was trained by Pascal Bary to a six-length victory against colts in the listed Prix Roland de Chambure and a four-length win in the Group 3 Prix du Calvados, both at seven furlongs. Stepped up to Group 1 company going a mile, she responded with a two-length score in the Group 1 Prix Marcel Boussac.

Six Perfections's early target will be the Prix de Diane (French Oaks) on June 8 at Chantilly.

Another French filly to watch is the well-bred Intercontinental. Trained by Andre Fabre, she is a British-bred daughter of Danehill and a full sister to Banks Hill. After sharp scores in a maiden and an allowance race, she finished a very good third in the seven-furlong Group 1 Grand Criterium, beaten just a length by Hold That Tiger. Intercontinental looks like she will be one of the favorites for the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) on May 12 at Longchamp.

Hold That Tiger is as low as a 6-1 favorite for the 2000 Guineas, the race in which he is most likely to run on May 3, Aidan O'Brien's recent remarks concerning his possible participation in the Kentucky Derby notwithstanding.

Concerning that, it must always be remembered that as a member of the Coolmore team, O'Brien is beholden to advertise the potential, real or otherwise, of colts who will eventually be standing at Coolmore. Keeping Hold That Tiger's name before the public as a Kentucky Derby possible is the same game Coolmore played last year with Rock of Gibraltar in the Breeders' Cup Classic. It is blarney.

Almushahar, winner of the seven-furlong Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster, looks like Godolphin's best hope in the 2000 Guineas. He may go in one of its private trials on the Nad Al Sheba turf in early April before heading to Newmarket.

While Juddmonte's Oasis Dream may not be Guineas material, its Trade Fair, a Zafonic colt, may well be. Trained by Roger Charlton, Trade Fair should improve off his third to Tout Seul in the Dewhurst.

Elusive City, winner of the six-furlong Group 1 Prix Morny, was withdrawn from this weekend's seven-furlong Spring Cup on the Lingfield dirt because of a fever. Gerard Butler will point him to the Greenham Stakes at Newbury on April 12 as a prep for the 2000 Guineas.

On the European derby front, the names that pop out are Brian Boru and Dalakhani. A son of Sadler's Wells, the O'Brien-trained Brian Boru took the one-mile Group 1 Racing Post Trophy in October and could follow the same route as the last two Epsom Derby winners Galileo and High Chaparral, both trained by O'Brien. That would mean running in the Ballysax Stakes and the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial, upgraded this season to Group 2 status.

Dalakhani, trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre for the Aga Khan, is a half-brother to Daylami. Unbeaten in three starts, he won the one-mile Group 1 Criterium International and will point to the Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby) on June 1. Alberto Giocometti, another O'Brien-trained son of Sadler's Wells, won the 1 1/4-mile Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud and is also a key derby contender.

The English Oaks is very much up in the air at this early stage. The current antepost favorite at 16-1 is a filly named Yesterday, an O'Brien-trained daughter of Sadler's Wells who was third behind Luvah Girl in the seven-furlong Group 2 Rockfel Stakes.

Concerning Luvah Girl, Barry Irwin of Team Valor has altered his plans for her. He and trainer Jenine Sahadi had planned to run her in Keeneland's Transylvania Stakes as a prep for the 1000 Guineas. Instead Irwin will ship her back to England on Thursday and she will be returned to Roger Charlton at his Beckhampton yard.

"Getting Luvah Girl to England from California just before the Guineas would have been a logistical nightmare," Irwin said of his change of plan. "Roger and I will decide later whether she will have a prep for the Guineas or go straight to Newmarket on May 4. Afterwards, she will be returned to Jenine Sahadi."