05/20/2001 11:00PM

Observatory goes in Prix d'Ispahan


Observatory, who had been expected to run in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury on Saturday, has been rerouted to Sunday's Group 1 Prix d'Ispahan at Longchamp.

John Gosden made the switch on Friday afternoon after rain had turned the course at Newbury sticky. Observatory, a 4-year-old son of Distant Music famous for having stopped Giant's Causeway's five-race Group 1 winning streak in last September's Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, will now make his seasonal debut against five rivals in the 1 1/8-mile, 55-yard Ispahan.

In his first try beyond a mile, Observatory will be challenged by Hightori, recently third in the Dubai World Cup, and Godolphin's Ekraar, a two-time Group 3 winner at 1 1/4 miles in England last year.

Also on the Longchamp card is the 1 1/4-mile Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary, the final prep for the Prix de Diane (French Oaks), in which the Pascal Bary-trained Mare Nostrum rates a slight edge over Snataka and Stunning.

* At San Siro in Milan, British invader Zanzibar, an In the Wings filly trained by Michael Bell, can parlay a recent allowance score into a Group 1 Oaks d'Italia victory over Canasita and Italian 1000 Guineas winner Bugia.