Bosra strikes back for Cecil

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The Independent Online
The Maktoum finally let someone else have a go at the Classics. Mark Of Esteem's 2,000 Guineas on Saturday was their ninth consecutive Classic but the fillies' equivalent was surrendered here yesterday when Bosra Sham was victorious.

This was not largely a victory for Albion however. The American-bred winner was ridden by an Irishman, Pat Eddery, and is owned by a Syrian, Wafic Said.

Bosra Sham, though, is trained by our very own Henry Cecil, and there was some piquancy in the fact that he should peel at the fingers of the Dubai domination following his split with Sheikh Mohammed. The Sunday crowd seemed to acknowledge this and Cecil was given a sweeping reception by the assembly on his return. It affected him deeply. He choked: "It's very emotional and it makes you want to cry." Which he almost did.

Cecil must have been close to tears several times this week. Bosra Sham has moved with the alacrity of a Tommy returning from a bog-filled trench for much of the final build-up, the victim of particularly brittle feet. "She has had a horrible time with people re-doing her feet," the trainer said. "But we never throw in the towel, we keep going. She hobbled out on Friday morning and she hasn't been able to do anything since, so it's a pretty good performance considering."

Such is Bosra Sham's celebrity there was even a camera to record her negotiating the ramp from her horsebox. Disembarkation is only usually a spectator sport when royal legs emerge from a limousine. The filly was led around the grass in the paddock and taken down steadily, but the real question would be asked in the race proper.

From a point of 2-5 earlier in the week, Bosra Sham had eased to 10-11 by the off, odds which appeared by no means generous as Eddery was one of the first to get sweated up in the race. The filly, we now know, has the attitude to accompany her undoubted brilliance and she responded to activity from the saddle. Eddery's route did not please the stewards (he was later given a two-day suspension for careless riding, drifting in front of the field on to the rails), but he was struggling to nurse his partner home. "Normally she travels a lot better than that but in the last furlong and a half she was shortening on both front legs," he said. "You haven't seen her at her best today. "

This belief is also held by Cecil. "Sir Noel Murless always said you had to be 110 per cent to win Classics, but she's done it on probably 90 per cent," he said. "When Pat asked her the question she felt it and she looked after herself in the final furlong. That's not surprising with her bruises and soreness, but she's a real professional and very genuine. I hope next time she runs we have a nice clear run and we can see her even better."

That may be in the Irish 1,000 Guineas or, more likely, Bosra Sham will be allowed protracted recovery time and pointed at Royal Ascot's Coronation Stakes. There is no immediate plan to try her at beyond a mile.

The Guineas winner will therefore be playing no part in the Oaks, which looks as though it will be retained by Godolphin if Pricket's performance in the Pretty Polly Stakes is anything to go by. The five-length winner is down to 6-4 for Epsom.

The only other filly in single figures is Bint Salsabil, which is rather surprising considering Willie Carson's comments after she finished seventh yesterday. "She didn't stay," he said.

n Frankie Dettori will be sidelined for a total of 12 days this month after he picked up a two-day ban at Newmarket yesterday for careless riding on Kammtarra in the closing race after the eight-day ban for overuse of the whip on Mark Of Esteem.