05/15/2006 12:00AM

Aussie Rules gives O'Brien his latest classic win

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Aussie Rules gave Aidan O'Brien his second 2000 Guineas title in a week on Sunday as Kieren Fallon steered Aussie Rules to victory in the $512,000 Poule d'Essai des Poulains on an incident-filled day at Longchamp.

The victorious Aussie Rules, a Danehill colt, had to withstand a stewards' inquiry to hold on to his half-length triumph over stablemate Marcus Andronicus, who finished just a head in front of Stormy River for second in the one-mile classic. The four-pronged O'Brien entry, which included also-rans Ivan Denisovich and James Joyce, was sent off as the 3-5 favorite. Aussie Rules covered the mile on good to soft ground in 1:37.

Aussie Rules is out of Last Second, a two-time Group 1 winner at 1 1/4 miles. The colt had won the seven-furlong Group 3 Tattersalls Somerville Stakes at Newmarket last fall, but had been fourth (disqualified to fifth) behind Stormy River in the Prix de Fontainebleau on April 23. He will go next in the 1 5/16-mile Prix du Jockey-Club, or French Derby, at Chantilly on June 4. Marcus Andronicus will join stablemate and Newmarket 2000 Guineas winner George Washington in the Irish 2000 Guineas at The Curragh on May 27.

The meeting at Longchamp was delayed by 2 1/2 hours hours as parimutuel clerks pulled a wildcat strike in protest over the increased number of self-service betting machines at French racetracks this year. As in similar past incidents, France-Galop officials were prepared to run the races without betting, but racing was delayed when a group of bettors prevented the horses in the first race from leaving the paddock.

The $512,000 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, or French 1000 Guineas, was marked by controversy when the first filly past the wire, the Pascal Bary-trained Price Tag, was disqualified and placed third for lugging in while taking the lead at the sixteenth pole. The race was awarded to the 8-1 Tie Black, who had finished a short neck in front of Impressionnante, who was moved up to second. Mauralakana was fifth, while the O'Brien-trained pair of Beauty Bright and Kamarinskaya came home eighth and 11th, respectively. The final time was 1:36.60.

A one-mile listed race winner at Toulouse on April 25, Tie Black is a Francois Rohaut-trained daughter of Machiavellian and is being considered for the Prix de Sandringham and the Prix d'Astarte. The unlucky Price Tag might turn up at Royal Ascot for the Coronation Stakes.