06/04/2009 11:00PM

Beheshtam can derail bid


Silver Frost, winner of this year's Poule d'Essai des Poulains, will try to pull off a French classic double at Chantilly on Sunday when he tackles 16 rivals in the $2.1 million Prix du Jockey-Club, or French Derby.

The opportunity for a French 2000 Guineas/French Derby double was made easier four years ago when France-Galop reduced the Derby distance from 1 1/2 miles to 1 5/16 miles, a distance that may well be within the range of Silver Frost, as he is by the Highest Honor stallion Verglas out of a mare by Anabaa. Trained by Yves de Nicolay, Silver Frost has won all three of his starts this year, all at a mile, taking the French 2000 at Longchamp on May 10 by two lengths. Big-race specialist Olivier Peslier has the call.

The Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Le Havre was second that day and will be ridden by Christophe Lemaire.

A bigger threat looms in the shape of Beheshtam, who was supplemented by the Aga Khan for $85,000 on Thursday. By Peintre Celebre, who won this race in 1997 when it was run at 1 1/2 miles, out of the Kris mare Behkara, who beat males in the 1 15/16-mile, Group 2 Prix Chaudenay, Beheshtam is taking a most unconventional route to the Derby.

He has run only twice for trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre, winning a 1 5/8-mile Maisons-Laffitte allowance in his May 11 debut before landing the listed 1 1/2-mile Prix de l'Avre at Longchamp on May 26. Christophe Soumillon, who rode Silver Frost to his French Guineas win, will ride.

The Derby will be missing the winners of two of its major preps. On Est Bien, winner of the Prix La Force, suffered an injury during work on Monday, while Cutlass Bay, the Prix Greffulhe winner owned by Sheikh Mohammed, was not nominated. Others who must be be considered are Wajir, winner of the Group 2 Prix Hocquart; Calvados Blues, winner of the Group 3 Prix de Guiche; Fuisse, who won the listed Prix de Pontarme; and the Aidan O'Brien-trained Westphalia, who was promoted to third in the French 2000 Guineas.

Parthenon, recently switched from Darley to Godolphin, has also been supplemented after winning the listed 1 3/8-mile Glasgow Stakes at Hamilton in Scotland, but this day may belong to Beheshtam, who can give the Aga Khan his sixth victory in France's premier classic.