10/02/2008 11:00PM

Lush Lashes tops Prix de l'Opera cast


PARIS - Lush Lashes has proven to be perhaps the best but certainly the most versatile filly in the world this year, with Group 1 victories at a mile and 1 1/2 miles. On Sunday at Longchamp she will face six other Group 1-winning females in the $345,000 Prix de l'Opera.

Her lone defeat this year came when she was a very unlucky second, losing by a head, in the Nassau Stakes at the Opera distance of 1 1/4 miles. The Galileo filly always runs her race, and trainer Jim Bolger will have her primed and ready. Kevin Manning will ride Lush Lashes, who is using the Opera as a trial for either the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf or the BC Mile.

Among her accomplished rivals Sunday are the Aidan O'Brien-trained duo of Moonstone and You'resothrilling. Ballydoyle's first-string rider Johnny Murtagh goes with You'resothrilling, a six-furlong Group 2 winner last year who returned from a 13-month layoff to finish only 1 1/2 lengths behind Lush Lashes when fourth in the Matron. Moonstone has been away since her July 13 score in the Irish Oaks and may need a race before a possible trip to Santa Anita for the Breeders' Cup.

John Oxx trains Katiyra for the Aga Khan. Third in the English Oaks, she improved to win the 1 1/4-mile Group 2 Blandford Stakes at the Curragh on Sept. 13.

Prix de l'Abbaye: Overdose looms large

At five furlongs, the $355,000 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp frequently determines the European sprint championship. Marchand d'Or will try and clinch that title off a third consecutive win in the 6 1/2-furlong Prix Maurice de Gheest. The Freddy Head trainee has also won the six-furlong July Cup this year, and while he did win the five-furlong Prix du Gros-Chene at the Group 2 level in June, six furlongs at this level may find him out.

And the one who could do the finding is Overdose - trained, improbably, in Hungary by Stefan Ribarszki for his Slovak owner Zoltan Mikoczy. Overdose, a British-bred son of Starborough, is 10 for 10 lifetime. Eight of those sprint wins came in Hungary, each by a minimum of six lengths, and the last two came in a Hamburg Group 3 and at Baden-Baden in the Group 2 Goldene Peitsche, Germany's championship sprint race.

Trained in Spain when he won the five-furlong King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, Equiano is now with Barry Hills in England. He should improve off his third to Borderlescott in the five-furlong Nunthorpe Stakes last month, but Borderlescott himself is one of those typically inconsistent British sprinters who rarely runs two good races in a row.

Mastercrafstman looks best by far

Europe's leading juvenile colt Mastercrafstman takes center stage in the $483,000 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at seven furlongs. The O'Brien-trained son of Danehill Dancer has won two Group 1's this year - the Phoenix Stakes and the National Stakes, both at the Curragh. He never does more than necessary, but there is nothing in this field that bears anything approaching his credentials.

The highly regarded Naaqoos would have to improve greatly off his recent allowance score, while Desert Phantom, 3 for 3 lifetime for unheralded British trainer David Simcock, is stepping up off a Ripon allowance win.

The $415,000 Prix Marcel Boussac at a mile for juvenile fillies is headed by the David Wachman-trained Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes winner Again. Jean-Claude Rouget sends out his Group 3 Prix du Calvados winner Elusive Wave, but the wild card is the unbeaten Copperbeach. A daughter of Red Ransom trained by Andre Fabre, she has won a Deauville maiden and a Longchamp allowance, both at a mile, in two starts, and will give her more seasoned rivals all they can handle.