05/12/2002 11:00PM

Landseer tops Longchamp's weekend Group 1s

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PARIS - Landseer gave Aidan O'Brien his second 2000 Guineas title of the season, Zenda went wire to wire in the French 1000 Guineas, and Act One remained unbeaten with an impressive victory in the Prix Lupin in the three Group 1 races at Longchamp Sunday.

Landseer's one-length victory over Medecis, with Bowman another three-quarters of a length behind in third, in the $315,000 one-mile Poule d'Essai des Poulains was a reshuffling of the Prix de Fontainebleau finish. In that race, the order of finish had been Bowman, Medecis, and Landseer.

Ridden by Michael Kinane, Landseer, the 6-1 third choice, was the second 2002 classic winner for O'Brien, owner Michael Tabor, and his sire, Danehill, following Rock of Gibraltar's win in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket last Saturday. The winning time on soft ground that was drying out throughout the sun-drenched afternoon was 1:36.80.

"The strong pace helped him this time," Tabor said."He's worked well and Aidan was quite bullish about him. I would imagine either the Irish 2000 Guineas or the St. James's Palace Stakes is next but I'll have to talk to the trainer."

Zenda, who won for the first time in an average Windsor maiden on April 22, had her winning price reduced to 6.30-1 as she was part of a Khalid Abdullah entry with Banks Hill's half sister, Heat Haze. The daughter of Zamindar appeared to be acting as pacemaker for her entrymate until she turned back the late challenges of Firth Of Lorne and Sophisticat for a one-length triumph accomplished in 1:37.30. Heat Haze was just up for fifth.

"She ran a bit freely early on but Richard (Hughes) has such good hands he soon got her to settle," said winning trainer John Gosden, who won had won this one-mile classic with Valentine Waltz in 1999.

Gosden had some explaining to do as to how he got Zenda into such a big race with such mediocre credentials.

"Like Windsor, Longchamp is a right-handed course close by a river, so obviously I knew what I was doing" he said with tongue in cheek. "Seriously, she had been working extremely well, so I asked Khalid Abdullah if we could run her here and he said that if I believed in her, I should run her."

Gosden's faith was rewarded and she could go for a 1000 Guineas double in the Irish version at the Curragh on May 26.

Scene Five of Act One's undefeated march to the Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby) at Chantilly on June 2 was a smash hit. Following Ballingarry's pacemaker Temple Of Artemis, who had been unsuccessfully employed by O'Brien in Black Sam Bellamy's failure in the Prix Hocqurt on Wednesday, Act One accelerated to the front at the quarter pole just as Ballingarry was giving up the ghost.

At the line, the victorious In The Wings colt had two-lengths on the improving Secret Singer as Ballingarry faded to sixth, beaten 13-1/2 lengths. The 4-5 favorite, Act One was clocked in 2:09.50 for the 1 5/16 miles with Thierry Gillet on board. Afterwards, Jonathan Pease reiterated his feeling that Act One is the best horse he has ever trained.

"He's got a lovely flowing action and is very strong mentally," the Englishman said. "After the French Derby, he'll be nominated to the King George and the Arc."

Although he had seven horses running in three Group 1 races at Longchamp on Sunday, Aidan O'Brien chose to remain at Leopardstown where he saw his 1-5 High Chaparral win the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial by a length from the maiden In Time's Eye. Although his victory was only workmanlike, High Chaparral was following in the footsteps of Galileo and Sinndar, who both went on from winning this race to land the Epsom Derby. High Chaparral is now the 9-4 co-favorite for the Derby with his stablemate Hawk Wing.