Cherokee Rose proves fleet of foot

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The Independent Online
The podium in France did not get much of the mother tongue after Europe's principal race yesterday, the Group One Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville. The swanky Normandy resort witnessed yet another victory at the highest level for Sheikh Mohammed when Cherokee Rose swooped close home in the hands of the man who has more words than the British Library, Cash Asmussen.

Behind him were men who also deliver Anglo-Saxon in Richard Quinn, the partner of Simon Dow's short-head runner-up, Young Ern, and Walter Swinburn, who was three lengths further back on Wessam Prince. Back down the field and representing Britain were Hoh Magic, who was fifth, sixth-placed Lavinia Fontana, Fard (eighth) and General Monash, who was last of the 10 starters.

The linguistic connection extended to John Hammond, the trainer of the four-year-old winner, who was coupled with the Andre Fabre-trained Diffident for betting purposes. The Englishman abroad seemed to give hope to many desperate ageing men as he posted his post-race thoughts. "She seems to be getting faster as she gets older," Hammond said. "We must now consider the Haydock Park Sprint Cup for her."

Following the absence of remuneration at Deauville last weekend when Nagnagnag was out of the places, Dow was considerably chuffed that Young Ern had earned pounds 23,000 in place money to help towards the evening's platter of langoustines. "He's run a great race and showed what a battler he is," the trainer said.

Elsewhere no excuses for defeat were reported, though it was difficult to locate the dividing line following the debriefing of Brent Thomson, the partner of General Monash. "That was his first run for some time, and he will be much better for that run," the Antipodean said.

The other Group race on the card went to a man whom British racegoers usually see grappling grimly with Jack Frost, Francois Doumen.

The Fellow's trainer (minus his thermal underwear and gaberdine) welcomed back Sunrise Song after the Group Two Prix de Pomone, in which she sprang a 14-1 surprise in beating Fanjica by three-quarters of a length.

In the same event, the Pat Eddery-ridden Totality cut out much of the running, but the Henry Cecil-trained filly faded to finish sixth of the seven starters.

Eddery's successor as Britain's champion jockey, Lanfranco Dettori, was recovering from a setback (which could have been much worse) to his championship aspirations yesterday. The Italian was badly bruised and concussed following a fall from the fatally injured Wainwright in the Rose Of Lancaster Stakes at Haydock on Saturday, but is already on the mend.

When Dettori woke from his slumber in Warrington General Hospital yesterday morning his first vision was the alarming sight of Michael Caulfield, the secretary of the Jockeys' Association, swinging a bunch of grapes under his face. "Thankfully it looks like he's going to be okay," Caulfield said.

"Concussion was the main injury. He was sitting up and talking and can remember everything leading up to the fall, which has to be a good sign. If you saw the crack in his helmet you would undoubtedly say that saved the day."

Dettori will be stood down for a minimum of seven days, and perhaps for three weeks, but still has a healthy numerical lead over Jason Weaver.

Behind the tiros in fourth place in the title race is Willie Carson, who will have Classic dreams to keep him warm over the winter following the Newmarket manoeuvres on Saturday of Bint Salsabil (who is by Nashwan out of Salsabil).

"She's not a zip merchant but she did it well because it looked at one stage as if she was going to be swamped," Angus Gold, racing manager to the filly's owner, Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum, said. "None of us have ever said she was top class so it was nice to see her do that. As we know, there's been a lot of hype about her but I'm sure that's because of her pedigree."