09/04/2008 11:00PM

Girls gang up on Henrythenavigator


Henrythenavigator must beware of the siren songs of three of France’s best female milers on Sunday when he sails into uncharted waters in the $573,000 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp.

This Group 1 mile will be Henrythenavigator’s first venture into France, and he comes well equipped for the challenge he will face from Goldikova, Darjina and Natagora, the filly trio that finished one-two-three in last month’s Prix Rothschild (ex-Astarte) at Deauville. Riding the crest of a four-time Group 1 winning streak, the most recent in his first try against older horses in Goodwood’s Sussex Stakes, Henrythenavigator will have to be at his best to win a race last won by his trainer, Aidan O’Brien, in 2002 with Rock of Gibraltar. Johnny Murtagh retains the ride on “Henry,” who is being aimed at the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Yet the Moulin could prove to be the single most important prep for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, as Goldikova and Darjina have been mentioned for that race, while Natagora is trained by two-time Mile winner Pascal Bary.

The Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Darjina is the defending Moulin titleholder, and while she is 3 for 3 going a mile at Longchamp, one of her four second-place finishes this year came at Longchamp in the 1 1/8-mile and 55-yard Prix d’Ispahan to stablemate Sageburg. She has yet to win this year and will have a new rider on Sunday in Gerald Mosse.

Goldikova has gone from strength to strength for trainer Freddy Head. After chasing home Arc favorite Zarkava in both the French 1000 Guineas and the French Oaks, she won the Group 3 Prix Chloe and the Group 1 Rothschild. Olivier Peslier takes the reins. Natagora, winner of the 1000 Guineas in May, followed her Rothschild third with a second-place finish to Tamayuz in the Prix Jacques le Marois and will have Christophe Lemaire aboard.

Sageburg was only fourth last time in the Jacques le Marois, but the Richard Hannon-trained British invader Paco Boy is an upset threat. He has won seven-furlong Group 2’s in his last two outings and is much improved since his seventh-place finish in the French 2000 Guineas.

* With defending champ Quijano at Woodbine for the Northern Dancer Breeders’ Cup Turf on Sunday, Peter Schiergen will rely upon his German Derby and Rheinland-Pokal winner Kamsin in the $358,000 Grosser Preis von Baden, a 1 1/2-mile Group 1 contest at Baden-Baden in which last year’s German Derby winner Adlerflug is coming off a seven-length victory over Quijano in the Deutschland-Preis. George Strawbridge’s John Gosden-trained Lucarno must improve off his dull seventh in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes if he is to have any chance of victory.