Cecil's Ascot aim is celebration with Twice Over

As a rule, the groom might expect to wear top hat and tails for his wedding day, rather than his honeymoon. But no tropical paradise would tempt Henry Cecil away from Royal Ascot next week, and his fiancée, Jane McKeown, was never under any illusions about their destination once the nuptials were fixed for tomorrow.

In the circumstances, only those trying to beat bank rates with the odds-on favourite, Henrythenavigator, would begrudge success for Twice Over in the St James's Palace Stakes on Tuesday. It is six years since Cecil's 70th success there confirmed him as the outstanding Royal Ascot trainer of modern times. In the meantime, his personal and professional fortunes have disclosed the substance sustaining all those familiar, exquisite flourishes. He was written off barely two years ago, but none can question his resurgence as a trainer – and now he hopes that he might achieve similar renewal against the attrition of cancer. In stormy waters, Henry has proved the truest of navigators.

Warren Place was too hectic with preparations for Cecil to supervise his runners here yesterday, but the stable approaches Ascot in fine fettle. Sevenna's success under Ted Durcan in the opener was its 21st of the season, maintaining a strike-rate of one in four.

Twice Over will be dropping back to a mile after meeting his first defeat in the Dante Stakes at York. Cecil's dismayed reaction that day was that the colt had failed for stamina, despite having won over 10 furlongs as a juvenile. Having persuaded his owner, Khaled Abdulla, to sit out the 2,000 Guineas in favour of a Derby preparation, he must have been relieved, if anything, when the colt returned a sickly blood count a few days later.

"Mr Cecil wasn't 100 per cent happy with Twice Over after York," Durcan confirmed. "He was beaten so far out there that you could hardly say it was simply a case of him not getting the trip. We all know that the favourite is going to be a tough nut to crack, and there are other horses to respect in the race like Falco, but at least our horse is back bouncing now. I sat on him on Saturday morning, and he seems in excellent order. I just wouldn't want it too firm for him, but we should be all right with a drop of rain about."

Durcan was wearing the same silks as when Cecil's quest for a fifth Derby foundered at Epsom last Saturday, Kandahar Run fading in the straight to finish ninth. "He blatantly didn't stay," the jockey said. "It was always in the back of our minds that he might not get home, but the way he had switched off when he won at Newmarket entitled us to hope. Unfortunately the pacemaker and the 1,000-1 shot rushed up early and lit me up a bit, which didn't help. But the Derby can take a lot out of horses and the main thing is that Mr Cecil has been really happy with him since. There should be plenty more from him later in the season."

Another veteran Newmarket trainer whose touch remains as sure as ever is Michael Jarvis, who saddled his first juvenile winner of the season in Sri Putra and then followed up with the impressive Ghaidaa in the second division of Sevenna's maiden.

Sri Putra could go for the Weatherbys Superlative Stakes at the Newmarket July Meeting, while Ghaidaa could yet be given the chance to match the Classic achievements of her dam and half-sister, Midway Lady and Eswarah, who both won the Oaks. "She is coming on in leaps and bounds," Jarvis said. "She is not in the Irish Oaks, but could be put in if the boss [Sheikh Hamdan] wanted it."

The Curragh is also a possibility for Rosa Grace, who quickened well to get out of traffic in the day's feature race, the Lord Weinstock Memorial Stakes. That success meant her trainer, Rae Guest, had won with his last four runners and he maintained the sequence with Si Belle at Yarmouth. Even this could be interpreted as a positive augur for Cecil, as Guest is McKeown's brother and looking forward to toasting their happiness tomorrow.

As for Rosa Grace, Guest has always entertained high hopes. "She needed her first run back," he said. "And the only thing we were worried about today was the rain getting into the ground, because she's a lovely mover. We don't pay a fortune for them, and we don't get sent the best. But we seem to find one every year."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
people
News
A boy holds a chick during the Russian National Agricultural Exhibition Golden Autumn 2014 in Moscow on October 9, 2014.
news
Life and Style
love + sex
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle v United 1 player ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot