04/25/2002 11:00PM

French Oaks, Derby winners square off


French Oaks winner Aquarelliste and French Derby champ Anabaa Blue will be challenged by Johannesburg's Gladness Stakes conqueror Rebelline in an outstanding renewal of the 1-5/16-mile Prix Ganay at Longchamp on Sunday.

The first Group 1 contest of the European season has also attracted last year's Arc third Sagacity as well as recent group race winners Execute and Jomana. But the focus will be on Aquarelliste, who is expected to be a major player against colts this year, and her fellow distaffer, the Irish invader Rebelline.

Trained by Elie Lellouche for Ecurie Wildenstein, the nom de courses for the horses formerly owned by the late Daniel Wildenstein, Aqaurelliste saw her undefeated record ended only when a distant second to Sakhee in the Arc. With only five races under her belt, the talented Danehill filly still has room for improvement in this, her seasonal debut.

In Rebelline she will be facing a filly who snatched victory on the line from Johannesburg three weeks ago over a seven furlongs that is well short of her best distance. The winner of the 1-1/4-mile Group 2 Pretty Polly Stakes vs. older fillies last June, the Kevin Prendergast trainee has been known to throw in the odd bad race, so the selection is Aquarelliste, who will be ridden by French champion jockey Dominique Boeuf

Anabaa Blue is winless since his French Derby heroics, most recently finishing ninth behind Sakhee, Aquarelliste and Sagacity in the Arc. Sagacity has also been a disappointment of late, finishing second to Jomana in the Prix Exbury and thirteenth in the Dubai Sheema Classic.

The Longchamp card also includes the debut of Aquarelliste's half sister by Sillery, Arme Ancienne, in a 1-1/4-mile maiden, as well as the appearance in a one-mile allowance of recent winner Heat Haze, a half sister to Banks Hill by Green Desert.