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International Classifications Report: Fasliyev 5lb clear in juvenile rankings.

THE unveiling yesterday of the International Classifications was unable to shed any light on the early season Classics, with Fasliyev - a horse who has already been retired - rated well clear of his contemporaries in the colts' division.

Last year's juvenile fillies, meanwhile, were rated the worst since the rankings were introduced in 1977, with Europe's handicappers unable to choose between three of them for the top-rated.

Fasliyev was awarded a mark of 125 in the Classifications, 5lb higher than that allotted to both Sagitta 2,000 Guineas favourite Distant Music and Giant's Causeway, winner of the Prix de la Salamandre at Longchamp in September.

However, the Nureyev colt, who was unbeaten in five starts including the Heinz 57 Phoenix Stakes and the Prix Morny, subsequently suffered an injury on the gallops, ending his racing career.

Fasliyev, along with the likes of Giant's Causeway and Racing Post Trophy winner Aristotle, contributed to Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien's domination of the two-year-old division. In all, he has 16 juveniles in the classifications, including 12 rated 110 or more and six in the top dozen.

BHB handicapper Matthew Tester said: "Aidan O'Brien showed that trainers can maximise what they have by giving two-year-olds a proper campaign.

"It's very sad that Fasliyev won't race again, but he is now standing as one of the highest-priced stallions at Coolmore on the back of what he accomplished."

O'Brien said: "It's great for Irish racing that the juveniles are rated so high,

because it means the standard is on a par with Britain and France.

"It's too early to make plans but all are Classic prospects, bar Fasliyev. Aristotle is a strong Derby contender at this stage and if he were to win that, I'm sure we would consider the St Leger and the Racing Post bonus."

Distant Music, winner of the Dewhurst Stakes and unbeaten in three outings, is the highest-rated British two-year-old.

Teddy Beckett, racing manager to the colt's owner Khalid Abdullah, said: "It's nice to be rated a champion and Timeform still rate us above Fasliyev, I believe.

"Both were unbeaten and it is a pity they won't meet to settle it, but we are very happy with the way our horse performed. It's too early to say what his plans are, but obviously the 2,000 Guineas is the main objective."

The highest-rated Godolphin two-year-old is City On A Hill, who won the July Stakes when trained by David Loder, earning a rating of 119.

The fillies' scene looks particularly confusing. The market leader for the Sagitta 1,000 Guineas is Teggiano, at around 10-1, but the daughter of Mujtahid, now with Godolphin having been trained by Clive Brittain, is rated 2lb below the best.

The handicappers cannot split the top three - the French-trained Goldamix and Lady Of Chad, and Ireland's Preseli - but their rating of 113 is indicative of a low-quality year for the fillies.

However, with the acquisition of Teggiano and the ex-French Morning Pride, Godolphin look to have a strong hand in the opening fillies' Classic.

Indeed, Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, said: "Their two-year-old form was top class. They both performed at the highest level and we hope they can do as well as three-year-olds."
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Title Annotation:Sports
Author:Lees, Jon
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Jan 19, 2000
Previous Article:International Classifications Report: O'Brien monopoly 'discourages rivals' THE IRISH VIEW.
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