Irish Oaks Winner Tries Elders in Prix Vermeille

By Mary Schweitzer
Shawanda, easy winner of the group I Darley Irish Oaks in July, takes on older rivals for the first time Sunday in the Prix Vermeille Lucien Barriere (Fr-I) at Longchamp.

The bay filly, from the first crop of champion Sinndar, won the 12-furlong Irish Oaks by an impressive five lengths, and has been rested for a fall campaign. The Aga Khan's filly has won five of six careers starts, and a win in this race could earn her a spot in Europe's premiere event, the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I). Christophe Soumillon has the mount.

Some tough fillies set to line up against her. Paita was champion 2-year-old filly in Germany last year, and sports a victory in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud (Fr-I) on her resume. She has yet to win this year, but still is group I stakes-placed.

Lune D'Or, a 4-year-old filly by Green Tune, was a group I winner in Italy last year. She recently finished a good third in the Aston Upthorpe Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I) in August.

Dash to the Top, from the first crop of the brilliant Montjeu, has been knocking at the door all season, and looks primed for a break out performance. She most recently was second in the Yorkshire Oaks (Eng-I). The field for the race is completed by the three-year-olds Royal Highness and Something Exciting.

Prix Niel Casino Barriere (Fr-II)
In the stakes race immediately preceding the Prix Vermeille (Fr-I), only four contestants will start against the imposing Hurricane Run. The Andre Fabre-trained colt was a close second in the Prix du Jockey Club (Fr-I) in June, before a dominating win in the Budweiser Irish Derby (Ire-I). This race will be used as a stepping-stone for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I). Kieren Fallon will again be aboard the son of Montjeu.

Prix Foy Lucien Barriere (Fr-II)
Another race with "Arc implications" could be the Prix Foy (Fr-II) for older horses. The field for this stakes race includes the Luca Cumani-trained Alkaased. This son of Kingmambo won the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Fr-I) earlier this year and was second in the Vodafone Coronation Cup (Eng-I). Shirocco, champion 3-year-old colt in Germany last year, is making his first start in 2005. With group I victories in the BMW Deutsches Derby (Ger-I) and Gran Premio Del Jockey Club Italiano (Ity-I), he is a horse who shouldn't be overlooked.