10/01/2008 11:00PM

Captain's Lover gives Team Valor big shot in Foret


PARIS - Team Valor can add some American flavor to the first day of Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe Weekend at Longchamp on Saturday when its South African champion filly Captain's Lover seeks a second straight French victory in the $344,000 Prix de la Foret.

In theory the seven-furlong Foret is an ideal prep for the Breeders' Cup Mile, as it always is run at a fast pace. In Captain's Lover, Team Valor's Barry Irwin has a possible BC Mile runner, though no decision will be made about a trip to Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup until after the race.

Captain's Lover beat colts in her European debut three weeks ago, winning the listed Prix du Pin over the Foret course and distance. Trained by Andre Fabre, Captain's Lover will be ridden by Olivier Peslier.

The main danger is Paco Boy. An improving 3-year-old son of Desert Style, he has won three seven-furlong group races this year, most recently Newbury's Group 2 Hungerford Stakes. Last month he stepped up to Group 1 company and acquitted himself well with a sharp third behind race winner Goldikova in the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp. His trainer, Richard Hannon, is hot now, having won a pair of $2 million races at the Curragh last weekend, the Goffs Million and the Goffs Fillies Million.

Natagora appeared to have the world at her feet after winning the 1000 Guineas in May, but the Pascal Bary trainee is winless in four starts since, finishing sixth last time in the Moulin. African Rose, a course and distance winner at the listed level, took the six-furlong Group 1 Haydock Park Sprint Cup at Doncaster on Sept. 6, and should be in the mix on Saturday.

All eyes will be on the world's highest-rated stayer Yeats in the 2 1/2-mile Prix du Cadran. A handy winner of both the 2 1/2-mile Ascot Gold Cup and the two-mile Goodwood Cup this summer, the 7-year-old Aidan O'Brien-trained son of Sadler's Wells need only run his race to win this Group 1, $344,000 contest. He was third last year in this race, which was won by Le Miracle. But that German-trained veteran finished 78 lengths behind Yeats at Ascot in his last start 14 weeks ago.

If Yeats loses, it could be to Kasbah Bliss. A Grade 1-winning hurdler at Cheltenham, Kasbah Bliss, trained by Francois Doumen, won the traditional Cadran prep, the 1 15/16-mile Prix Gladiateur at Longchamp on Sept. 14.

Saturday's one-mile Group 2 Prix Daniel Wildenstein has come up light. Defending titleholder Spirito del Vento was second in Captain's Lovers Prix du Pin, but does have a Group 3 mile victory this year. Sageburg will appreciate the drop in class, but probably prefers at least a furlong farther.

Famous Name, second to Vision d'Etat in the French Derby, was second in a 1 1/4-mile Irish Group 3 last time for trainer Dermot Weld and rider Pat Smullen following a three-month absence - and is the selection.

In the $179,000 Prix Dollar, a Group 2 event run at 1 1/8 miles and 155 yards, Liang Kay, trained in Germany by Uwe Ostmann, can claim first prize off his victories this year in the Group 2 Oppenheim-Union-Rennen and the Group 3 Furstenberg-Rennen - although he must turn back recent Grand Prix de Deauville winner Boris de Deauville.

w Seventeen are likely to go in Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, counting German Derby winner Kamsin, who has been supplemented. English Oaks winner Look Here was not. Duke of Marmalade appears most likely to run as the going was officially labeled "good" at Longchamp Thursday morning. The undefeated Zarkava remains the 7-4 favorite for the race, which will be worth $5.5 million, making it the world's richest turf race and the second-richest race in the world to only the Dubai World Cup.

* The Arabian Gulf state of Qatar is sponsoring Arc Weekend, which offers 16 races on Saturday and Sunday worth a total $9,384,792 with Sunday's card totaling $7,850,077.

* At Newmarket on Saturday, Darjina will try to overcome a prolonged case of seconditis in the $350,000 Sun Chariot Stakes, a Group 1 mile for fillies and mares with Breeder's Cup implications. The Alain de Royer-Dupre trainee ran her runner-up streak to five when she finished second, a half-length behind Goldikova, in the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp. Goldikova is staying in the barn Saturday. The Mark Johnston-trained Nahoodh and the Aidan O'Brien-trained Halfway to Heaven, both Group 1 mile winners this year, ran second and third last time to race winner Lush Lashes in the Group 1 Matron Stakes and they make the Sun Chariot a first-class Group 1 contest.