Racing: Sayyedati keeps promise: Classic reward for an unwavering belief in a filly's ability

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The Independent Online
VINDICATION for Clive Brittain and Walter Swinburn here yesterday as Sayyedati produced the performance that trainer and jockey had promised to capture the 1,000 Guineas. The filly will now be remembered as a Classic animal rather than the spluttering creature that temporarily surrendered her reputation in the Nell Gwyn Stakes on this course two weeks ago.

Brittain and Swinburn predicted such improvement, but were aware that their hopeful message had found many disbelieving ears, and when the jockey celebrated victory with a fist sent heavenwards this was a gesture spurred as much by justification as elation.

After Sayyedati's Nell Gwyn defeat, there were those who suggested Swinburn should switch to Zarani Sidi Anna. The rider, though, never swerved from allegiance to a horse that had kept his thoughts warm since the end of last season.

'I made my mind up that night that I would ride Sayyedati,' he said. 'I have dreamed about her all winter and I wasn't going to let one bad afternoon put me off.

'If I hadn't won, all the newspapers would have said I'd got it wrong. But I just wasn't having that. This filly has never had the credit she deserves and because of the build-up I was probably a little more excited today than I normally am.'

It was Sayyedati herself who looked excited, and overly so, as the field entered the parade ring. Brittain's painstaking preparations appeared as if they would come to naught as the filly sweated profusely.

The Newmarket trainer had left as little as possible to chance. Sayyedati had repeated temperature tests in the run-up to the first Classic, her manger was scrubbed clean before any food was introduced and, on the eve of the race, the filly's lad, Wayne Dunkley, slept by her side.

This attention appeared to be futile, however, when Brittain saw his horse emerge for action. 'She was sweating when she came out of her box and she looked a little bit on edge,' the trainer said. 'I was worried.

'But I got more relaxed when I saw she was walking round with that elegant stride of hers. And anyway, only wooden horses don't sweat.'

Sayyedati's victory here persuaded Brittain that she was of sufficient merit to enter the league of the other top fillies he has trained, Pebbles and User Friendly. Unlike that pair, however, she is likely to be kept to a mile for the rest of her career.

'I've been so lucky in life, whatever happens from here on in,' Brittain said. 'To have fillies like these is incredible.'

Whatever her future assignments, Sayyedati is unlikely to offer the gilt-edged value of yesterday. Her lathering did not escape the notice of the bookmakers, and by the time the stalls opened Sayyedati had been stretched to a 4-1 chance from an opening 5-2.

The more significant stretching after that, however, concerned the filly's loping stride, which had her tucked in, going well, behind the pacemaking Niche. Three furlongs out, Swinburn steered to the outside, at about the same moment that Michael Roberts, on the French- trained favourite, Elizabeth Bay, realised that his first Classic ride as Sheikh Mohammed's retained jockey was not to be a winning one.

Niche did not relent. 'She kept going and going, she's got great heart,' reported her jockey, Lester Piggott. But Swinburn knew that the superior horsepower was under his saddle. 'I was just waiting to pounce,' he said.

Behind him there were two colleagues whose desire to succeed went outside the laws. Richard Hills, on third-placed Ajfan, and Lanfranco Dettori, fifth on Dayflower, both collected four-day suspensions for overuse of the whip.

'I feel sorry for those guys,' Swinburn said. 'How can they go back to their owners and trainers and say they could have done better but they had used up their quota with the stick?'

A measure of compassion then from the winning jockey, but a day when he felt a more powerful emotion. One of vindication.

----------------------------------------------------------------- ORDER OF FINISH IN THE 1,000 GUINEAS ----------------------------------------------------------------- 1. SAYYEDATI - bay filly Shadeed - Dubian W R Swinburn 4-1 2. Niche - L Piggott 6-1 3. Ajfan - R Hills 33-1 Also ran: 9-4 fav Elizabeth Bay (8th), 5-1 Zarani Sidi Anna (7th), 14-1 Lyric Fantasy (6th), 14-1 Wixon (11th), 16-1 Secrage (9th), 16-1 Stella Mystika (12th), 33-1 Felawnah (4th), 33-1 Dayflower (5th), 100-1 Star Family Friend (10th). 12 ran. won by 1/2 length, hd, 1 1/2 , 1/2 , hd. (C Brittain, Newmarket, for Mohamed Obaida). Tote: pounds 5.10; pounds 2.30, pounds 1.90, pounds 8.70. Dual Forecast: pounds 17.60. CSF: pounds 25.72. Trio: pounds 200.50. -----------------------------------------------------------------

(Photograph omitted)