Racing: Cecil pursues winning pattern

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ANOTHER disastrous year for Henry Cecil: just 80 winners on the board, almost pounds 800,000 in prize-money, the provider of more winning rides for Pat Eddery, Steve Cauthen and Willie Ryan than any other trainer. But failure comes in many forms and the absence of the flag-raising ceremony at Warren Place that denotes victory at the highest level, a Group One race, means that 1992 must go down as as a disappointing year for the former champion trainer, writes John Cobb.

The speculation at the start of the season about which would be Cecil's Guineas horse, his Derby No. 1, his best filly, all seems rather futile now. The list of the disappointing and the disgraced has to be headed by Midnight Air but Musicale, Skimble, Sun And Shade, Aljadeer and Kingdom Of Spain are others that have spread disenchantment among the stable's many followers.

The closest any horse has come to bringing Cecil a Group One success has been Pursuit Of Love's head defeat by Mr Brooks and Lester Piggott in the July Cup. With a clear run Pursuit Of Love would certainly have won but in the end he ran about a furlong further than his rivals as Pat Eddery switched first right and then left to find room to make a challenge.

Pursuit Of Love (3.10) has already found a measure of compensation in a Group Two event at Deauville and should follow up today in the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury where the trip and the eased underfoot conditions should be entirely in his favour.

Eddery and Cecil team up 30 minutes later for Tenby (3.40), who will have to maintain his unbeaten record if he is to save the embarrassment of those who took the 33-1 offered about the Caerleon colt for the 2,000 Guineas and Derby after his impressive win in a maiden race at Goodwood last month.

Eddery's mounts in the card's two trickiest handicaps cannot be discounted but preference is for the well-handicapped SOVEREIGN PAGE (nap 4.10) and the consistent Newton Point (next best 5.15).