Racing: Wince relieves Cecil's anguish

Classic weekend: Master of Warren Place takes 1,000 Guineas for the sixth time but Dettori's triumph turns sour
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The Independent Online
IT IS ALLOWED that Henry Cecil is the master of his trade and a particular force in the 1,000 Guineas, which he won for the sixth time with Wince here yesterday. But to win a Classic with an afterthought is perhaps taking the prowess too far.

It has long been assumed that Warren Place would yet again be running up the family ensign which greets its Classic winners on this the first fillies' Classic day, but, for much of the winter, honour of victory was expected to fall to Bionic.

The ante-post favourite proved to be as badly named as the filly which eventually carried the stable fortune, however. Bionic suffered in the colder months from a brittle foot and then, a month ago, fractured her pelvis during a morning workout. They did not have the technology to rebuild her. "When Bionic went wrong we had to have a look round for something else," Cecil said yesterday.

That "something else" transpired to be Wince, whose fortitude in taking the Fred Darling Stakes on her seasonal debut, subsequent stalwart efforts on the gallops and battling success yesterday made a nonsense of her name. She now follows One In A Million, Fairy Footsteps, Oh So Sharp, Bosra Sham and Sleepytime on Cecil's 1,000 Guineas roll of honour, a roll which has more sheets than its leading brand name competitors. Had it not been for the matter of the distance of a neck or a horse called Island Sands on Saturday, Cecil would have initiated a Guineas double with Enrique in the 2,000 Guineas.

"That was great and what a fine substitute she has proved for the other filly whom I fear may never be able to race again," Cecil said. "She has really been pleasing me since she won the Fred Darling and I was very much encouraged when Enrique [a galloping partner] ran so well yesterday.

"I don't think Prince Khalid [Abdullah, who is also Bionic's owner] had any particular hopes for Wince until I rang him in Riyadh one day last week and told him how well she had been going and how hopeful I was that she would run a big race."

Wince had looked quite outstanding among her contemporaries in the preliminaries. On a warm afternoon, dark blotches of perspiration spread across most of the parade of young bodies, many them showing the scrawniness of youth. Wince, however, was immense, her large head supported by a bull neck. There were plenty who liked the look as the bay filly was supported in to 4-1 favouritism, supplanting France's, Moiava.

It was Criquette Head's filly which took the eye first in the contest, struggling with Richard Quinn to become the dominant partner. The field, as anticipated, split into two groups and, as also expected, it was the stands side which gained control. Pescara on the far rail and Fairy Queen on the the opposite side formed Godolphin bookends for a short while.

Three furlongs out, Wince started to move. Kieren Fallon began to generate the great pumping force in which it looks wise not to interfere. It would be like getting caught in a great whirring newspaper press. Under this thunderous driving Wince drifted left, but her momentum was unaffected. She held on by half a length from Wannabe Grand, with Valentine Waltz, who won the race on the far side, a short-head back in third. It was a good result for those who reverse the last three runners on the card.

"It's always a problem when the field splits into two," Fallon said. "You have to ride two races, to beat those on your side and to keep an eye on those on the other. I had my head down but I could see them on both sides and I thought the line would never come. They were coming at me from everywhere but she stuck to her guns."

Wince now has many options spread before her, including the Irish and French 1,000 Guineas and the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot. Fallon is looking forward to renewing acquaintance and also planting his seat on more of her stablemates. First choice or not, Warren Place's runners have to be respected. "It's a great feeling to have won this," the jockey said, "and we've a fair lot more in the yard as well so, with the help of God, things should go right for us."

Things went anything but right for Frankie Dettori in the finale. He was found guilty of careless riding on the winner, Ajhiba, after an incident in which Blind Trust and Seb Sanders took a crashing fall. He has been banned for six days, including York's Dante meeting.


Nap: Hammer And Sickle

(Doncaster 1.50)

NB: Bering Gifts

(Kempton 2.40)