Racing: Swinburn says Sayyedati can do it

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The Independent Online
BETTING losses, for some, are a serious business, but at Deauville they barely rate as incidentals.

Lodgings, feeding and watering demand such outrageous costs at the chic capital of France during August, that a few francs tossed mindlessly at the Pari-Mutuel seems little more than bagatelle.

Beneath the veneer of ostentation that occupies the Normandy town for a month, there is some serious horse-racing, however, and at the summit of a pile of Group races is the Prix Jacques le Marois, which is run today.

The full title of this event would even have Mary Poppins choking, as it carries the sponsors' name of the Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard, the Normandy stud centre of the Greek owner Stavros Niarchos.

The shipping magnate, like all astute businessmen, is not one to let funds slide away easily and has claimed his own prize-money for four of the last six years.

Many expect the Niarchos mantlepiece to be groaning again this evening as Kingmambo, his Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2,000 Guineas) winner will be a hot favourite for this Group 1 contest.

Kingmambo appeared to be breaking new ground when he beat Zafonic in the spring, but the reinforced fallibility of that opponent makes that look less impressive.

The results in the book that may matter belong to Sayyedati, the 1,000 Guineas winner, who is thought to be improving with each dawn by the men that know.

'She may have looked all right in the Guineas but Sayyedati has only just come to herself,' Walter Swinburn, who rides the filly this afternoon, says. 'She looks great at the moment and I can't imagine she'll ever be better than she is right now.'

Physical conditioning will indeed have to be at a peak for Sayyedati as the record books show that this is a race the French guard like their recipes. Guy Harwood's Lear Fan, in 1984, was the last British winner.

The force of history does not disturb Swinburn, though. 'It's a difficult race for us to win because the French think of it as their top mile race and treat it accordingly,' he says. 'But, having said that, Sayyedati has got an awful lot in her favour.

'It's a strange course to ride because you can be going like a winner two furlongs out and then you have to kick again to get there. The key to the whole thing is that you have to have a lot of speed. And that's what we've got. Speed to burn.' Just like the money in Deauville.