Racing: Omens good for Precedent

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The Independent Online
There was a slight overnight improvement in the condition of Bosra Sham yesterday and the filly now looks likely to make an International Stakes at York that was in danger of being stripped of quality as well as numbers.

Henry Cecil's four-year-old bruised the sole of her near-fore foot in her last piece of serious work on Newmarket's Racecourse Side on Tuesday. She was lame on her return from exercise the following morning. Bosra Sham, who was an odds-on favourite for Tuesday's contest on the Knavesmire, has been fitted with a special shoe bearing an adhesive plastic flange, much the same as she was in the run-up to last year's 1,000 Guineas. She will be kept on the move this weekend.

"Bosra Sham is fine this morning," Cecil said yesterday. "She had a shoe put on and was led out. The soreness is less and less and we are hopeful she will make it to York.

"We have got to lead her out and canter her tomorrow and on Sunday. Then we will give her a blow-out on Monday. Things are going the right way rather than the wrong way."

Willie Ryan, who partners Bosra Sham in much of her manoeuvres on the Newmarket trial grounds, was yesterday appointed by an enemy camp when he signed up to continue his relationship with the Derby winner Benny The Dip.

The colt's owner Landon Knight had been keen to employ the French champion jockey Olivier Peslier, but John Gosden, Benny The Dip's trainer, put that idea to the guillotine. "When Frankie [Dettori] was not available Willie was the obvious choice to keep the ride on the horse," the Newmarket man said.

"The owner likes Olivier Peslier but he was given the chance to ride Benny The Dip [in the Derby] and decided to ride something else.

"Benny The Dip is in good form and seems well, but it does look as if it is going to be a funny old race again. We won't play into their hands this time as our fellow's at his best when bowling along and winding things up from the front."

Ryan has a recent form guide from the gallops to gauge the prospects of both horses. "I ride Bosra Sham in a lot of her work and I know she is well, but Benny The Dip also felt very well when I rode him, though it is never easy to beat the older horses," the jockey said. "Whatever happens, I'm sure they will both run big races."

As Singspiel and Desert King are the only other certain runners, it appears the International may be won in the mind of one of the jockeys, a theory that could apply to this afternoon's Geoffrey Freer Stakes at Newbury.

The two that can largely be ruled out of the Group Two contest are Panama City and Dushyantor, who does not appear to have forgiven Cecil for sending away all his three-year-old mates at the end of last season.

That leaves the event as a contest between the flotsam of the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes. It may be that Shantou (3.00) has recovered best from that widow-maker of a race.

It will be interesting to see if Willie Carson leaves the sanctuary of the BBC box for the opening race, which sees the return to Newbury of Meshhed, who kicked the Scot into retirement last season. This race can fall to YOUNG PRECEDENT (nap 2.00) now that he is returned to seven furlongs. Socket Set (next best 2.30) has the tools for the St Hugh's Stakes.

The money race of the weekend at Deauville tomorrow is fully titled the Prix du Haras du Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois. No wonder Peter O'Sullevan is retiring.

Starborough transports the Union Jack for David Loder here, but will have his work cut out against the home trio of Daylami, Zamindar and Spinning World, the winner 12 months ago.

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