Racing: Channon's great Classic hope is dead

THE FLAT turf season, which begins a month tomorrow, will not be quite the same. Bint Allayl, the champion juvenile filly who transfixed racegoers with her bewitching speed last season, will not be among the cast.

She died on Monday night after sustaining an injury on the gallops. With her goes the opportunity to witness once again an acceleration which is not gifted to the many; with her goes much of the potency of the 1,000 Guineas, for which she was favourite; and with her goes the admirable Mick Channon's best chance to open his Classic account.

Bint Allayl was in the midst of a conventional piece of work on Monday when she suffered traumatic damage to the bone between the shoulder and elbow of one of her front legs. Desperate attempts were made to save her.

"While doing a routine canter yesterday Bint Allayl suffered a complete spiral fracture of her left-fore humerus," Anthony Stroud, the racing manager to the filly's owner, Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, reported yesterday. "She was given emergency first aid on site and transported to Donnington Grove Veterinary Surgery, where she was attended.

"They did everything in their power to save the filly but at 22.45 last evening it was confirmed that she should be euthanased on humane grounds."

Bint Allayl was never a racehorse for the small print. Her reputation was enormous even before she set foot on a racecourse for the first time, at York last May. She lost to Pipalong that day and it is that filly, whom Bint Allayl later thrashed in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot, who will go down as the only horse to beat her.

Bint Allayl won the National Stakes at Sandown, when her devastating turn of foot was first unfurled and Channon's first victory for the Maktoum family was registered. Another set of adversaries was tartly dispatched in the Lowther Stakes at York, a contest which established the filly as the best of her generation in Europe.

In the International Classifications, the year-end official analysis, Bint Allayl was rated 116, 2lb clear of Criquette Head's Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte winner, Moiava. She was favourite across the board for the first fillies' Classic, despite undergoing an operation on an injured hock over the winter. Now there is nothing.

"On behalf of Sheikh Ahmed I would like to thank all of the vets and their staff for their tireless efforts and hard work," Stroud added. "Mick Channon, who trained the filly so well; Candy Morris, who rode her, and her dedicated lass, Alwena Jones, who looked after her."

This loss will hurt Channon, though he will not show it. Bint Allayl was among the first consignment of Maktoum horses he received. Also in the batch was the talented colt Josr Algarhoud, whom the trainer guided to success in the Gimcrack at York. Josr Algarhoud was subsequently spirited away to join Godolphin's winter exodus to Dubai. Channon did not cry then. He may feel like doing so now.

Potter Again was, as her name might suggest, not as fast as Bint Allayl, but she did not know that. She too has left us, and she too departed in the supposed comfort of her home gallops. James Potter had only recently transferred the seven-year-old from David Nicholson's yard to David Evans at Long Mountain Farm near Welshpool.

"This is an awful thing to see and it's unfortunate for it to happen just after we got the two horses from Mr Potter," Deborah Evans, the trainer's wife, said. "She was just doing a canter when it happened. It seemed the horse had a heart problem."

Potter Again was a moderate hurdler who last performed at Bangor and ran poorly. Bint Allayl was a superstar. Both ran for our pleasure.

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