08/11/2005 11:00PM

Unbeaten filly vs. older colts

Email
Thierry Orban/Deadline Photo Press
The Prix de Diane is one of nine wins for Divine Proportions, who will face older colts for the first time Sunday.

With comparisons to the fabulous Miesque ringing in her ears, Divine Proportions will put her undefeated record on the line at Deauville on Sunday in a short but stellar field in Europe's richest Group 1 mile, the $748,000 Prix Jacques le Marois.

Trainer Pascal Bary watched with delight on Tuesday as the Kingmambo filly scintillated in a work over the same straight course on which the Marois will be run. A two-time French classic winner owned by the Niarchos family, Divine Proportions returned from her June 12 victory in the 1 5/16-mile Prix de Diane, or French Oaks, with a sharp score against older fillies and mares in the Group 1 Prix d'Astarte over the Marois course and distance two weeks ago. She will have regular rider Christophe Lemaire in the saddle on Sunday.

The Jacques le Marois, which was won by Divine Proportions's paternal granddam Miesque in 1987 and 1988, will be the first time Divine Proportions will be facing older colts, and while only two of them have taken up the challenge, they will test her to the fullest.

Defending champ Whipper, a Miesque's Son three-quarter brother to Divine Proportions, prepped perfectly a week ago with a victory in the 6 1/2-furlong Prix Maurice de Gheest, marking the third time he had won a Group 1 contest on the Deauville straight course. Like Divine Proportions last year, he had also taken the six-furlong Prix Morny as a 2-year-old, but there is a suspicion that Whipper is at his best at something short of a mile. The mile trip, however, is perfectly suited to Divine Proportions, the even-money favorite, who counts three Group 1 tallies at that distance among her nine career victories.

If Divine Proportions's flag is to be lowered, it could be done by Valixir. A Trempolino 4-year-old, Valixir defeated six-time Group 1 winner Rakti in the one-mile Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot at York. Trainer Andre Fabre then dropped him into the Group 3 Prix Messidor, which he won on July 24 while spotting his rivals nine to 17 pounds. Owned by the Aga Khan, Valixir will be ridden by Christophe Soumillon in his effort to knock Divine Proportions off her perch.

Dubawi, owned by Godolphin and part of the late Dubai Millennium's only crop, won the Irish 2000 Guineas but found the 1 1/2 miles of the Epsom Derby a little too far last time, when he was eight lengths in third behind Motivator. Though undoubtedly first-class, Dubawi may find the cut back to a mile off a 10-week layoff too much to overcome in this exalted company.

Divine Proportions will have Semarang, a six-furlong listed winner trained by Jonathan Pease, to serve as a pacesetter, while Godolphin will employ Council Member for the same purpose for Dubawi. A fast pace would play right into the hands of Divine Proportions, who will receive 10 pounds on the scale from both Valixir and Whipper as she attempts to emulate Six Perfections, the Bary-Niarchos family 3-year-old filly who landed the Jacques le Marois two years ago. It will take a brave man to bet against her, and a very good colt to beat her.

The field

Prix Jacques le Marois
Purse: $748,000; 1m (Turf); Group 1

NO.PPHORSEJOCKEYWT.ODDS
1 1 Valixir C Soumillon 130 2-1
2 4 Whipper O Peslier 130 3-1
a-3 3 Council Member T E Durcan 123 5-1
a-4 2 Dubawi K McEvoy 123 5-1
b-5 5 Semarang T Gillet 123 1-1
b-6 6 Divine Proportions C-P Lemaire 120 1-1

a-coupled Council Member & Dubawi
b-coupled Semarang & Divine Proportions
Odds by Alan Shuback
Post time: 9:15am (EDT)