08/21/2009 12:00AM

Top-flight juveniles in Morny


The Group 1, $499,000 Prix Morny at Deauville on Sunday rates as the best 2-year-old race in the world thus far this year, as all five horses in the six-furlong dash are already group-race winners.

The six-length victory of Canford Cliffs in the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot earned a Racing Post Rating of 119, better than any juvenile in Europe. But Canford Cliffs, a Richard Hannon-trained son of Tagula who will be ridden by Richard Hughes, has been rested since June 16 and may be vulnerable to any one of his four accomplished rivals.

Zanzibari is an intriguing mix of speed and stamina. By Smart Strike out of Zinziberine, the winner at 2 of the six-furlong, Group 2 Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte against colts, this Andre Fabre trainee won the Group 3 Prix de Cabourg over the Morny course and distance on Aug. 2. Frankie Dettori replaces young Maxime Guyon in the saddle for the Sheikh Mohammed-owned Zanzibari, who is taken to upset Canford Cliffs.

The red-hot stallion Oasis Dream, the sire of Wednesday's Group 2 Gimcrack Stakes winner, Showcasing, has Arcano in the Morny. Trained by Brian Meehan, Arcano was so impressive winning Newmarket's Group 2 July Stakes that he was immediately snapped up by Hamdan al-Maktoum. But the form of that race was called into question when its runner-up, Orpen Grey, finished five lengths fifth in the Gimcrack.

A pair of French fillies who have already beaten colts will have their say. The Criquette Head-Maarek-trained Special Duty upset the highly precocious Siyouni in the Group 2 Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte four weeks ago, while the Papin's third-place finished, Dolled Up, trained by Robert Collet, had previously taken the Group 3 Prix du Bois.

* The $356,000 Prix Jean Romanet at 1 1/4 miles for older fillies and mares has been boosted to Group 1 status. Lady Marian has looked dull since winning last year's Prix de l'Opera, so the choice is Alpine Rose, who won the Group 2 Prix Corrida before finishing second against males in the Group 1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

* Like the Jean Romanet, the Group 3, $114,000 Prix de la Nonette is a 1 1/4-mile prep for the Opera, but it is restricted to 3-year-old fillies. Tamazirte, four lengths second to the undefeated Stacelita in the French Oaks, holds a slight edge over Article Rare, who was a six-length runner-up to Stacelita in the Prix Saint-Alary.