10/03/2002 11:00PM

Bright Sky can shine in l'Opera


PARIS, France - French Oaks winner Bright Sky can use her fine third behind Pearly Shells and Ana Marie in the Prix Vermeille to vault to victory in the Prix de l'Opera, the most prestigious of the five Group 1 races on the Arc undercard Sunday.

The Elie Lellouche trainee will appreciate the shorter distance and can prevail over Marotta, the winner of the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary in May, and Irresistible Jewel, who was switched by Dermot Weld from Saturday's Prix de Royallieu in favor of this after a professional score in the Group 3 Blandford Stakes.

The Aidan O'Brien entries Quarter Moon and Starbourne always seem to find one or two better than themselves, while the dangerous Rebelline, conqueror of Nayef and Johannesburg this season, is a doubtful starter if the ground remains good.

The straight 5-furlongs of the Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp has seen better fields. The twenty who will line up are motley crew with Continent the only Group 1 winner among them. A dangerous race to bet, the Abbaye could go to the Robert Collet-trained Zipping, Argentine-bred Swedish Group 3 winner Nobel Prize, or Continent's David Nicholls-trained stablemate Bahamian Pirate, the runner-up in last year's Abbaye.

Persian Punch would be a popular winner of the Prix du Cadran. The David Elsworth-trained 9-year-old loves this distance and would take the measure of Miraculous if running back to the form of his Goodwood Cup victory in August or his Ascot Gold Cup second in 2001.

The $345,000 Grand Criterium is the 7-furlong feature for juveniles, but the 2-year-old French colts are so weak outside of absentee Dalakhani, the race could go to Intercontinental, an undefeated full sister to Banks Hill.

Andre Fabre has primed her for this race, but she will have to be at her very best to defeat Aidan O'Brien's Group 1 Phoenix Stakes winner Spartacus and Group 3 Prix La Rochette victor La Vie dei Colori, who invades again from Italy.

Six Perfections is all the rage in the one-mile Prix Marcel Boussac for juvenile fillies. The manner in which she routed Londonnetdotcom in the Prix du Calvados gives her a decided edge for Fabre over fellow Group 3 winners Rainbows For Life and Loving Pride.