Racing: Deauville could ease drought for Brittain: Sayyedati is made favourite to reverse Sussex Stakes form

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SAYYEDATI has surprisingly been installed favourite to win Sunday's Prix Jacques le Marois for the second successive year. Ladbrokes yesterday opened the betting on the mile event which is so often the highlight of the Deauville season and quoted the filly at 9-4.

However, the Group One contest appears to be every bit as competitive as Goodwood's Sussex Stakes in which Sayyedati finished fourth to Distant View, Barathea and Grand Lodge. The second and third home are quoted at 7-2 and 8-1 respectively for Sunday's race with the French-trained pair East Of The Moon & Ski Paradise bracketed on 3-1. Sayyedati was third to the latter at Tokyo in April, but appeared to be back to her best in the Sussex in which she was trapped against the rails in the closing stages.

Success would provide a much needed fillip for Sayyedati's trainer, Clive Brittain, whose string have been out of form this season, registering only 17 wins from 266 starters. That strike-rate of six per cent compares unfavourably with most of his Newmarket neighbours among whom a win rate of around 20 per cent is not uncommon.

'She's in very good form and was unlucky not to get a run in the Sussex Stakes,' Brittain said. 'It is going to be like the Sussex all over again. She acts on the course and won it last year. Hopefully we're going back for a repeat.'

With the ground at Deauville already on the fast side of good, and drying out, the chances that Turtle Island, the Irish 2,000 Guineas winner, will take part are decreasing. Robert Sangster's colt has been absent since finishing third to Grand Lodge in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot and missed the Sussex Stakes owing to firm ground.

Jane Chapple-Hyam, wife of the colt's trainer, Peter, said: 'Turtle Island will run at Deauville only if the ground is on the soft side of good. The International Stakes at York next Tuesday is an alternative, but we would want plenty of rain as the ground would have to ease considerably.'

The John Gosden-trained Catrail is expected to be withdrawn at today's declaration stage, along with Lemon Souffle who is on the easy list after inexplicably losing her action.

Similarly baffling to veterinary science is the affliction affecting Erhaab, the Derby winner, who underwent a further series of examinations yesterday that will determine his racing future.

The colt was checked over by a Dubai-based American vet as John Dunlop, his trainer, seeks an explanation for the three-year-old's most recent racecourse failures at Sandown and Ascot.

The examination, by Dr Mike Hauser, took place at trainer Dunlop's Arundel stable, but the result of his analysis will not be announced until today.

Angus Gold, racing manager to Erhaab's owner, Hamdan Al Maktoum, said: 'We wanted another opinion on what Mr Dunlop's vet, Dr Paul Dupreez, has already told us.'

Hauser was called in after x-ray pictures of Erhaab taken last week failed to reveal what had caused the colt to run so disappointingly in his last two races. His advice will help connections to decide whether to proceed with an autumn campaign, centred on the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, or retire the colt.

At Ascot, Erhaab collected a bruised knee when beaten over 10 lengths into seventh by King's Theatre. The build- up to the race had been interrupted by the recurrence of a hamstring injury sustained when third to Ezzoud and Bob's Return in the Eclipse Stakes.

PRIX JACQUES LE MAROIS (Deauville, Sunday), Ladbrokes: 9-4 Sayyedati, 3-1 East Of The Moon & Ski Paradise, 7-2 Barathea, 8-1 Grand Lodge, 16-1 Emperor Jones. Turtle Island is quoted at 3-1 'with a run'.