Bahri to prolong the monopoly

The Maktoums look to rule in today's top race. Richard Edmondson reports
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The Independent Online
After Sheikh Mohammed's extraordinary sequence this year in capturing the 2,000 Guineas, Derby, Oaks, Eclipse and King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes it seems someone else's chance has come in a Group One race this afternoon at Goodwood. His brother Hamdan is expected to win the Sussex Stakes with Bahri.

There are some who are beginning to suffer from Maktoum fatigue this season, but it should be remembered that without the family that has won the last seven British Classics many of the best horses in these islands would disappear and even more jobs would go with them. There are worse monopolies around.

The shape of the Sussex Stakes has a striking resemblance to Saturday's King George in that it appears to be Mollers Racing (in the form of Nicolotte here following Pentire at the weekend) against Dubai's rulers. Soviet Line (Maktoum Al Maktoum) and Darnay (a product of Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin operation) are not without hopes, but it is Bahri (3.10) who should win.

John Dunlop's colt appeared an improved performer in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot when Willie Carson handled him for the first time as if he was something other than a butterfly. "He had a hellish experience in the Irish Guineas, where they went no pace and then he got stuck in behind," Dunlop said yesterday. "But I was pleasantly surprised he won so well at Ascot."

So convinced are connections now that Bahri is rugged enough for a mile that they also run a pacemaker, Sulb. As these two are the only three- year-olds in a race that traditionally favours that generation the first string's prospects are obvious.

A more tantalisingly conundrum is to find an each-way prospect and in this competition Sayyedati is worth one last chance. The mare has made so many pockets for herself in the last two season that she should by now be operating on Savile Row, but Clive Brittain, her trainer, will hear no ill of his horse. This loyalty was hardly punctured yesterday when Secret Aly, Sayyedati's lead horse, bolted in by six lengths in the meeting's opener.

"Brett [Doyle, who rides the mare in public for the first time today] will be doing cartwheels and handstands after that," Brittain said. "When her rode her in the spring he said 'by God we're going to have some year with this horse'. And he wasn't down there to ride her then.

"She was desperately unlucky here last year and even more unlucky with Frankie [Dettori] at Ascot. But we don't cry, we just live and go again.''

''You wouldn't think she'd gone if you saw her in the morning,'' Brittain added. ''She hasn't got a care in the world and when she can give a lad like Secret Aly six lengths and go past him by six lengths hard-held you've got to believe it. I'm certain she's as good as she was.''

Hamdan will spring out of bed this morning with the prospect of a Group- race double as Alhaarth will be well fancied to take the Champagne Stakes. Dick Hern's colt recorded a second and a half faster time in victory at Newmarket than his main rival today Allied Forces (next best 3.45), who ran at the same meeting. The latter, however, ran on slightly softer ground and is finally fulfilling the high opinion Henry Cecil has of him.

The opener features Harlestone Brook, who won the corresponding event 12 months ago. The little gelding goes into the race in great heart but may not cope with Tamarpour (2.30), who eventually remembered what his legs are for at Chepstow earlier this month.

At first glance the Tote Gold Trophy looks a bear trap of a contest, but close scrutiny shows that just two of the runners have won over 12 furlongs. The winner should come from animals that contested an event over that distance, the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot, in which AT LIBERTY (nap 4.15) finished strongly. He should thwart yet another big handicap success for Bob's Ploy's trainer, Reg Akehurst. Some people are getting quite sick of that too.