05/29/2008 11:00PM

Dettori teams with filly for Jockey-Club


The filly Natagora will throw down a bold challenge to 19 colts in the $2.3 million Prix du Jockey-Club at Chantilly on Sunday after having picked up the services of Frankie Dettori in a dramatic last-minute jockey shuffle.

Trainer Pascal Bary had been searching for a rider all week because Natagora's regular partner, Christophe Lemaire, is contracted to ride the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained High Rock, the Jockey-Club's likely favorite off his stunning six-length romp in the Group 3 Prix La Force. But when Ibn Khaldun turned up lame on Friday morning, Godolphin withdrew him, freeing Dettori to accept the mount on Natagora, the 1000 Guineas winner.

Dettori has won two of the last three runnings of the 1 5/16-mile French Derby, aboard Lawman last year and on Shamardal in 2005. The advantage he accords Natagora may be tempered, however, by the fact that no filly has won the Prix du Jockey-Club since La Moriniere in 1900. Moreover, there is doubt that Natagora, a daughter of the Sunday Silence stallion Divine Light out of a Linamix mare, can stay 1 5/16 miles, although she does have a half-sister who won going 1 1/2 miles.

A son of Rock of Gibraltar, High Rock is proven at the distance, as his impressive score in the 1 1/4-mile Prix La Force showed. He also won the Group 3 Prix de Conde last fall going 1 1/8 miles and will not be inconvenienced by the good to soft going.

In Prospect Wells and Democrate, Andre Fabre saddles two who won their maidens last time in Group 2 races following three second-place finishes against lesser. A son of Sadler's Wells, Prospect Wells was a narrow winner of the Prix Greffulhe, while the Dalakhani colt Democrate, purchased earlier this week by Sheikh Mohammed, came late to win the Prix Hocquart by a short neck. But Fabre's third runner, Thewayyouare, may be his best chance for a second Jockey-Club victory. A Group 1 winner at 2, the Kingmambo colt disappointed when sixth in the French 2000 Guineas but should like the added distance on Sunday as he is a half-brother to Peeping Fawn, a two-time Group 1 winner at 1 1/2 miles. Moreover, his dam, Maryinsky, is a half-sister to Better Than Honour, the dam of Belmont Stakes winners Jazil and Rags to Riches, as well as this year's Belmont challenger Casino Drive.

The Peintre Celebre colt Le Trincot presents a danger off his win in the 1o1/8-mile Prix de Guiche, as does Famous Name, a four-length winner of the Leopardstown 2000 Guineas Trial for Dermot Weld.

A strong undercard with three Group 2, $201,000 contests is headed by the 1 1/2-mile Grand Prix de Chantilly, in which Man o' War and Hong Kong Vase winner Doctor Dino will try to improve on his third-place finish in the Dubai Sheema Classic while facing Grand Prix de Paris winner Zambezi Sun. Prix de l'Abbaye winner Benbaun clashes with fellow Group 1 sprint winner Marchand d'Or in the five-furlong Prix du Gros-Chene. Modern Look, an unlucky fourth in the French 1000 Guineas, can make amends in the one-mile Prix de Sandringham, considering that she was just 1 1/2 lengths second to Natagora in the Prix Imprudence in April.