Cecil relieved by split

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The Independent Online
Henry Cecil, whose 14-year working relationship with Sheikh Mohammed came to a dramatic conclusion on Tuesday, has given his first public reaction to the Sheikh's decision to withdraw his horses from Warren Place.

The partnership, one of the most successful in racing history and responsible for 57 European Pattern wins including 10 Classics, came to an acrimonious end with the news that the Sheikh will be withdrawing all 40 horses in his ownership from Cecil's care.

The trainer, attending the Goffs Sales in Ireland, was initially reluctant to comment on the split between the two. But, hurrying to the rear entrance of the sales, where his wife, Natalie, was waiting to drive him away, Cecil said: "I'll just say one thing. After the last two weeks of what has been written and read, his decision to take his horses away is probably the best thing."

The break up comes after a build up of tension between the two in recent weeks. The Sheikh chose the Cecil-trained Mark Of Esteem to join the exodus to Dubai, following in the hoofprints of this year's Classic winners Vettori, Moonshell and Classic Cliche, who were in Cecil's care as juveniles.

The 40 horses will stay at the Sheikh's Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket in the short term, but a decision on a permanent destination has yet to be reached.

Justin Wadham, managing director of Darley Stud Management, said: "The horses have now come under the control of the Dalham Hall Stud. But the decision as to where they will be sent is one for my principal to make and not for me. Our task is to send them wherever we are instructed to."

One of the favourites to benefit from Cecil's loss is David Loder, who trained his first Group One winner for the Sheikh when Blue Duster took the Cheveley Park Stakes last week.

Speaking at York yesterday, Loder said: "I don't know what's going on. You had better speak to the people in charge."

The removal of the Sheikh's horses sparked fears of job cuts among the 70 staff at Warren Place. But a spokeswoman for the stable said: "I wouldn't have thought there would be any immediate redundancies."