08/12/2004 11:00PM

Tall order for Six Perfections

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Six Perfections defends her Prix Jacques le Marois title on Sunday at Deauville in France, where heavy ground could dampen the hopes of many of the leading contenders.

The straight Group 1 mile, at $674,000 the richest race of its distance in Europe, has been won by five subsequent Breeders' Cup winners. Miesque in 1987 and 1988 and Spinning World in 1996 both went on to land the Mile those same years, while 2001 winner Banks Hill would later take the Filly and Mare Turf.

Last year Six Perfections won the Mile in spite of a 10-week layoff following her Jacques le Marois victory over Domedriver, her Pascal Bary-trained stablemate and the 2002 Mile winner. On Sunday the 4-year-old Six Perfections must deal with 10 rivals while coming off a pair of subpar performances this spring.

Second to the Italian-trained colt Prince Kirk in the Prix d'Ispahan, which at 1 1/8 miles may have been a bit beyond her scope, she followed with a dull sixth behind Refuse to Bend in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 15, the only time in 12 career starts that she has been out of the first two.

Six Perfections, who will be ridden by Thierry Thulliez, has won a listed race on soft ground and was just a nose second to Yesterday on soft in last year's Irish 1000 Guineas. Heavy ground, however, is another story.

Mark Johnston has said that he will not run his English and Irish 1000 Guineas winner Attraction on such going. The French 2000 Guineas runner-up Diamond Green has won a Group 3 on soft turf, while Byron, sharp winner of the Group 2 Lennox Stakes at Goodwood, has never raced on anything softer than good. The speedy Whipper may find a mile in heavy going too far, while soft ground specialist Baqah, whose trainer Freddie Head won the Jacques le Marois six times as a rider, may lack the necessary class.

My Risk could benefit most from the off going. A course and distance winner on soft ground in the Group 3 Prix Quincey, he won the Group 3 Prix Edmond Blanc on soft and is coming off a victory on good-to-soft ground in the Group 3 Prix du Chemin de Fer du Nord.