05/12/2005 11:00PM

Divine Proportions poised for coronation


Divine Proportions, a filly on the brink of greatness, goes in search of her first classic crown at Longchamp on Sunday in the $508,000 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, or French 1000 Guineas.

Owned by the Niarchos family, Divine Proportions has done nothing wrong in a career that has already brought her two Group 1 successes and the European juvenile filly championship. She prepped for the Group 1 Pouliches with a handy course and distance victory in the Group 3 Prix de la Grotte at one mile on April 24, and worked brilliantly for trainer Pascal Bary at Chantilly on Wednesday morning with regular rider Christophe Lemaire aboard.

All signs point to a coronation for Divine Proportions on Sunday and, indeed, the daughter of Kingmambo has frightened away much of her potential competition. Only seven fillies will challenge her, and one of them is her pacemaking entrymate, Ratukidul.

Ysoldina, Antique, and Silk and Scarlet - second, fourth, and sixth in the Prix de la Grotte - will try her again. If Divine Proportions is to be toppled, however, the damage could be done by the Brian Meehan-trained Magical Romance, although that British invader is unraced since her victory in the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at six furlongs at Newmarket on Sept. 30.

By comparison, Longchamp's equivalent colts' classic, the $508,000 Poule d'Essai des Poulains, or French 2000 Guineas, has drawn a full field of 15. A pair of supplementary entries, Indesatchel and Laverock, appear to have a slight edge over Helios Quercus, Salut Thomas, and Shamardal, who will try to repair a reputation that was badly damaged in the UAE Derby.

Indesatchel invades from Ireland for red-hot trainer David Wachman off victories in a pair of seven-furlong Group 3 contests, the Greenham Stakes and the Tetrarch Stakes, although there are doubts about his ability to stay a mile. Laverock prepped with a victory in a subpar renewal of the Group 3 Prix de Fontainebleau, while Helios Quercus, winner last fall of the Group 1 Criterium International at one mile, just failed to stay 1 1/4 miles last time when second in the Prix La Force. He will appreciate this return to a mile.

Shamardal is a reclamation project. Europe's 2-year-old champion, he will be back on his preferred turf at Longchamp, where the ground on Sunday will be good to soft. If he can recapture his juvenile form, the son of Dubai Millennium can give the slumping Godolphin team its first group-race score of the European season.