05/15/2009 12:00AM

Goldikova stretching out at Longchamp in Ispahan


When Goldikova, the sensational Breeders' Cup Mile winner, returns to the races at Longchamp on Sunday, she will not be running at her favorite distance. Instead she will be stepping up to 1 1/8 miles, 55 yards for the Prix d'Ispahan, a Group 1 contest worth $340,000 in which she will be facing some rather accomplished colts and older horses.

Goldikova, 4, comes into the Ispahan on the crest of a four-race winning streak at a mile that includes the Prix du Moulin de Longchamp and the Prix Rothschild (ex-Astarte), both at the Group 1 level. But in her lone try beyond a mile she faded late to finish 4 1/2 lengths third in the 1 5/16-mile French Oaks behind subsequent Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Zarkava.

Trainer Freddie Head reports that Goldikova is in "great shape" for her seasonal debut. Olivier Peslier, aboard for all nine of her starts, will ride again again.

The biggest threat to Goldikova may come from a member of her own sex. Proviso was fourth, only a neck behind Goldikova, in the French Oaks. Trained by Andre Fabre, Proviso prepped for this with a six-length one-mile allowance score against males at Longchamp on April 20 and appears to be in the best shape of her career.

In the Group 1, $340,000 Prix Saint-Alary, the key 1 1/4-mile prep for the French Oaks, Stacelita can keep her perfect record intact at the expense of Plumania and Villa Molitor, who were second and third last month in the Group 3 Prix Penelope.