05/16/2008 12:00AM

Darjina returns at Longchamp


oµ?? fresh from a close second-place finish behind Jay Peg in the Dubai Duty Free in March, returns to action at Longchamp on Sunday in the $386,000 Prix d'Ispahan, a Group 1 contest run at 1 1/8 miles, 55 yards.

Some might question trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre's decision to run Darjina in a race that is at least 55 yards longer than the Duty Free, as she didn't seem to stay the slightly shorter distance. She is, however, loaded with class, as evidenced by her three Group 1 victories last year - the French 1000 Guineas, the Prix d'Astarte, and the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp - all at a mile. Christophe Soumillon retains the ride.

In Literato she meets a Kendor colt who will be making his second start wearing Godolphin blue. Literato capped a brilliant 3-year-old campaign for Jean-Claude Rouget with a win in the 1 1/4-mile Champion Stakes at Newmarket in October, but his 2008 debut was a big disappointment as he finished twelfth in the Duty Free, 8 1/4 lengths behind runner-up Darjina. Disputing the issue are recent Group 2 Prix Hocquart winner Loup Breton and the filly Turfrose, winner last fall of the Group 1 Premio Lydia Tesio.

* Seven fillies will test the French Oaks waters in the Group 1, $386,000 Prix Saint-Alary. Albisola, an improving daughter of Montjeu, might be good enough to upset Gagnoa, who won her second Group 3 race last time out in the 1 5/16-mile Prix Cleopatre.