05/15/2005 11:00PM

Divine Proportions brilliant in victory


Divine Proportions established herself as the world's leading 3-year-old filly with a brilliant five-length romp in the $504,000 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas) at Longchamp on Sunday shortly before Shamardal redeemed himself with a game victory in the Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas).

In extending her lifetime record to seven victories without a loss, Divine Proportions was confirming 3-10 favoritism while giving her sire Kingmambo another classic triumph, but it was the style of her victory that was most impressive.

Although her entrymate Ratukidul never got close to the lead, Divine Proportions was prompting the pace set by Cherokee, who was serving as the rabbit for the Aidan O'Brien-trained Silk And Scarlet. Christophe Lemaire eased her into the lead at the quarter pole from which point the matter became academic. With a dsiplay of the instant acceleration that brought her the European 2-year-old filly championship last year, she cruised clear as Toupie and Ysoldina filled the places. Silk And Scarlet was fifth as Magical Romance, making her seasonal debut off a 7 1/2-month absence since having won the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes, finished a rank sixth, 12 lengths behind the winner. Divine Proportion's time of 1:38.50 for the mile on soft ground was .7 of a second faster than that recorded by Shamardal, all the more impressive in that she did it largely by herself.

In chalking up the third Group 1 triumph of her career, Divine Proportions has convinced trainer Pascal Bary that "she is a phenomenon and I have not trained a better filly than her." Bary, her owners at the Niarchos Family and their racing manager Alan Cooper must now decide what comes next. Cooper said that it would either be a step up to 1 5/16 miles for the Prix de Diane, or French Oaks, at Chantilly on June 12, or a possible meeting with 1000 Guineas victress Virginia Waters in the one-mile Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot at York on June 17. In either case she will be the odds-on favorite.

Sheikh Mohammed, Saeed bin Suroor, Simon Crisford and company at Godolphin heaved a sigh of relief as Frankie Dettori got the most out of Shamardal, who held on gamely for a front-running victory in the $504,000 Poule d'Essai des Poulains. Europe's juvenile champion had flopped badly in the UAE Derby on March 26, but a return to turf and, perhaps more importantly, to a mile, worked wonders.

The Giant's Causeway colt was all out to hold off the late charging Indesatchel by a head as Gharir's rail bid fell another neck short, but got the job done in the end. In victory, Shamardal was not only restoring his reputation, he was giving Godolphin their first group race score of the European season after disappointing losses by Dubawi, Satin Kiss, Papineau and Grand Emporium.

Godolphin racing manager Crisford said that the St. James's Palace Stakes, a Group 1 mile for 3-year-old colts at Royal Ascot at York on June 14, or the 1 1/2-mile Epsom Derby on June 4 could be next for Shamardal, but the manner of his victory at Longchamp on Sunday suggests that one mile may be his optimum distance.