06/15/2006 11:00PM

English filly out to provide owner with Italian double

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Owner Gary Tanaka goes in search of an Italian classic double at San Siro in Milan on Sunday when his Rising Cross faces 15 rivals in the $550,000 Group 1 Oaks d'Italia.

Tanaka won the Derby Italiano with his French-trained Gentlewave in Rome on May 21 and now seeks the 1 3/8-mile Oaks with the British-trained Rising Cross. Trained by John Best in Kent, Rising Cross will have regular rider George Baker in the saddle. Tanaka bought Rising Cross, a Cape Cross filly, after her second-place finish to the runaway Alexandrova in the English Oaks on June 2.

Trainer Riccardo Menichetti has secured the riding services of French ace Christophe Soumillon aboard local favorite Dionisia. A Kentucky-bred daughter of Tejano Run, Dionisia is coming off a 3 1/2-length victory in the 1 1/4-mile Group 3 Premio Mario Incisa della Rochetta at San Siro on May 27.

Soumillon will be in Milan to ride the Aga Khan's filly Shamdala in the Gran Premio di Milano, a 1 1/2-mile Group 1 contest worth $440,000. A Grand Lodge 4-year-old, Shamdala took the 1 15/16-mile Group 2 Prix Vicomtesse Vigier last time at Longchamp for trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre, but showed good 12-furlong form when she ran fourth to Ouija Board in the Hong Kong Vase last December.

Groom Tesse, winner of the 1 1/2-mile Group 3 Premio Carlo d'Alessio in Rome on May 21, carries Italian hopes, while last year's Deutsches Derby winner, Nicaron, flies the German flag.