Updated on 09/16/2011 9:15AM

High Chaparral-Sulamani duel will have to wait


High Chaparral has dropped out of his highly anticipated duel with Sulamani in Sunday's Prix Niel at Longchamp, where three major preps for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe will be run.

The 1 1/2-mile Group 2 Niel was to have featured Epsom and Irish Derby winner High Chaparral and French Derby winner Sulamani, but High Chaparral was withdrawn by trainer Aidan O'Brien on Friday after tests revealed that his blood was not quite right. A Sadler's Wells colt, High Chaparral will probably prep for the Oct. 6 Arc, for which he is the 5-1 favorite with British bookmakers Coral Eurobet, in the 1 1/4-mile Group 3 Prix du Prince d'Orange at Longchamp next Sunday.

His defection leaves Sulamani with just two Niel rivals, both trained by Andre Fabre. Morozov, the winner two back of the 1 1/2-mile Group 3 Prix du Lys, is further advanced than his stablemate, two-time allowance winner Gulf News, a Woodman colt out of 1994 European Horse of the Year Balanchine.

Sulamani has been burning up the gallops at Chantilly for trainer Pascal Bary. With good ground expected, he will be in his element on Sunday, but rider Thierry Thulliez must beware of the same short-field slow pace that caused Peintre Celebre to lose the Niel prior to his Arc victory in 1997.

Bright Sky should be a mild favorite in the Group 1 Prix Vermeille for 3-year-old fillies, but she has not run since winning the French Oaks on June 9 and will be making her first start at 1 1/2 miles. Trained by Elie Lellouche for the Wildensteins, Bright Sky may find that Dance Routine, Pearly Shells, and Bernimixa all prefer the longer trip more than she does.

Pearly Shells defeated Ana Marie, third in the French Oaks, in the 1 1/2-mile Group 2 Prix de Malleret in June, then followed with a two-length score over Dance Routine in the 1 1/4-mile Group 3 Prix de la Nonette at Deauville. French Oaks runner-up Dance Routine, by Sadler's Wells out of a Shirley Heights mare, is crying out for 1 1/2 miles and may be the value of the race. She is trained by Andre Fabre and owned by Juddmonte Farms. Bernimixa, another Fabre trainee, has won her last three, the latest in the 1 1/16-mile Group 2 Prix de Pomone.

Others to consider are Albanova (a half-sister to two-time Champion Stakes winner Alborada), French Group 3 winner Tigertail, and Italian Oaks champ Guadalupe, who was a distant second to Islington last time in the Yorkshire Oaks.

Aquarelliste won the Prix Vermeille prior to chasing home Sakhee in last year's Arc. This year she will use the Group 2 Prix Foy as her Arc trial.

A Danehill filly, Aquarelliste scraped home by a half-length in the Group 1 Prix Ganay in April, but then finished third in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in which subsequent Grand Prix de Deauville winner Polish Summer was second. Polish Summer will test her again in the Foy, as will last year's French Derby winner Anabaa Blue. Anabaa Blue won the Grand Prix de Chantilly and was fifth in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

The choice, however, is Italian invader Falbrav. The Irish-bred Falbrav is 3-for-3 this year, the last two at the Group 1 level in Italy. He is trained by Luciano d'Auria.

At the Curragh, the undefeated Group 3 winner Van Nistelrooy and Group 1 Phoenix Stakes winner Spartacus give O'Brien an excellent chance of taking the seven-furlong Group 1 National Stakes for the third year in a row. But trainer David Loder, who won Friday's Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster with Almushashar, has a hot hand and may prevail with his unbeaten Carson City colt Dublin, the winner last time of Goodwood's Group 3 Vintage Stakes.