09/11/2003 11:00PM

Dalakhani, 'Gabriel' highlight Arc preview


Dalakhani and Ange Gabriel highlight Longchamp's Arc preview day on Sunday when three course and distance preps for Europe's 1 1/2-mile championship event will be run.

The Group 2, $122,000 Prix Niel for 3-year-olds features a clash between French Derby winner Dalakhani and Epsom Derby winner Kris Kin. Since suffering the only loss of his career when second by a half-length to Alamshar in the Irish Derby on June 29, Dalakhani has been on vacation but trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre is sure to have him ready for this while leaving something in the tank for the Arc on Oct. 5.

Kris Kin followed his Epsom win with a third-place finish in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes on July 26. Trained by Michael Stoute, Kris Kin was 5 1/2 lengths behind the victorious Alamshar that day, so the edge on paper in the Niel is clearly Dalakhani's.

There are two late bloomers in the Niel with legitimate chances. Doyen has won three in a row for trainer Andre Fabre, the last coming in the 1 1/2-mile, Group 3 Prix du Lys at Longchamp. Look Honey is coming off a win in the 1 1/4-mile Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam at Maisons-Laffitte.

Ange Gabriel faces four foes in the Group 2, $122,000 Prix Foy for older horses. The 5-year-old Ange Gabriel has become a thorough professional in the past year, winning five of his last six, the Hong Kong Vase and two Grand Prix de Saint-Clouds among them. The one loss came at the hands of the Godolphin-owned Sulamani in the Dubai Sheema Classic.

If there is to be an upset in the Foy, it could come from either Martaline, winner of the 1 3/4-mile Group 2 Prix Maurice de Nieuil, or Imperial Dancer, recently a close second to High Chaparral in the 1 1/4-mile Group 2 Royal Whip Stakes.

The Group 1, $277,000 Prix Vermeille for 3-year-old fillies has drawn an evenly matched field of 11. It boasts the presence of English Oaks winner Casual Look; Yesterday, the Irish 1000 Guineas winner and English Oaks runner-up; and Mezzo Soprano, recent winner of the 1 1/2-mile listed Galtres Stakes at York.

Commercante, Vallee Enchantee, and Whortleberry are all coming off group race scores, but the choice is State of Art. Never worse than second in seven starts, State of Art was a game winner of the 1 1/4-mile Group 3 Prix de la Nonette at Deauville on Aug. 16.