09/09/2005 12:00AM

Shawanda, Hurricane Run headline pair of Arc preps


Shawanda and Hurricane Run are the headline attractions at Longchamp's Arc preview meeting on Sunday when each will run in a course and distance prep for the $2.23 million Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at 1 1/2 miles on Oct. 2.

With French Oaks winner Divine Proportions and English Oaks champ Eswarah both retired, Shawanda is the clear leader among 3-year-old fillies in Europe by dint of her handy five-length victory in the Irish Oaks on July 17. In her return to action Sunday in the Group 1, $310,000 Prix Vermeille, Shawanda will be seeking her fifth consecutive victory, all for trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre. By Sinndar, the winner of the Epsom Derby, Irish Derby, and Arc, and out of a half-sister to 1983 Vermeille winner Sharaya, Shawanda will have regular rider Christophe Soumillon aboard.

The Vermeille was opened to 4-year-old fillies for the first time last year when it was won by Team Valor's Melbourne Cup-bound Sweet Stream, but only one filly of that age will challenge Shawanda. Lune d'Or, a three-time group race winner in 2004, was third last time in the Yorkshire Oaks and will appreciate her return to Longchamp. More serious threats in the small field of six come from Royal Highness, the Pascal Bary-trained winner of the Group 2 Prix de Malleret, and Yorkshire Oaks runner-up Dash to the Top.

Hurricane Run goes in the Prix Niel. Ladbroke's current 3-1 Arc favorite, he would be undefeated but for a heartbreaking neck loss to Shamardal in the 1 5/16-mile French Derby. An Andre Fabre-trained Montjeu colt, Hurricane Run displayed his preference for 1 1/2 miles next time when he defeated Scorpion in the Irish Derby.

Hurricane Run will be running for the first time in the colors of his new owner, Michael Tabor, in Sunday's Group 2, $148,000 Prix Niel, the traditional Arc prep for 3-year-old colts. He will also be reunited with Kieren Fallon, who guided him to victory in the Irish Derby. The 1-10 favorite, Hurricane Run has more to fear from a painfully slow pace in the five-runner field than he does from any single opponent, two of whom, Eraser and Silver Cross, finished far behind him in the French Derby.

In the Group 2, $148,000 Prix Foy for older horses, Alkaased will start as the solid choice off his victory for Luca Cumani in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud at 1 1/2 miles on June 26. Dangers lurk in the shape of Group 2 Grand Prix de Chantilly winner Geordieland, Group 2 Prix Jean Romanet winner Pride, and last year's German Derby winner, Shirocco, who makes his first start for Fabre since beating Electrocutionist in last October's Group 1 Gran Premio del Jockey Club in Milan.