Sham pain on ice as favourite falters

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Bosra Sham, favourite for the 1,000 Guineas since before Christmas and long odds-on for the past two weeks, is only an even-money chance just to reach the starting stalls after aggravating a minor foot injury in her final pre-Classic gallop on Thursday. Henry Cecil, her trainer, may wait until "10 minutes before they go to post" before committing his filly to tomorrow's contest.

"She worked brilliantly," Cecil said yesterday, "she really has come on a lot. But earlier on this morning she was actually lame. We re-did her foot, and by lunchtime she was sound, so it is just a question of keeping her sound. She has done her work.

"She will be given ice packs to take the soreness out and we could even use laser, but I will be guided by professional people. We've still got two days.''

Punters should be warned that bets struck on runners other than Bosra Sham after yesterday's declaration deadline will be subject to a Rule 4 cut of up to 70 per cent if she does not run. An alternative is Ladbrokes' list without Bosra Sham, which offers: 7-4 Bint Salsabil, 5-2 Bint Shadayid, 7-1 Dance Sequence, Honest Guest and My Branch, 14-1 Matiya, 20-1 Maid For The Hills & My Melody Parkes, 25-1 bar.

There were two late jockey changes in the 1,000 Guineas yesterday. Frankie Dettori will ride Bint Shadayid for Godolphin, with David Harrison taking over on Maid For The Hills and Gary Carter aboard Papering.

The fillies' Guineas will be the feature race on the first Sunday cards of 1996 (Salisbury also races tomorrow). The high-street bookmakers, who moaned loudly about lack of interest from punters last year, will begin the new Sunday season in a more positive mood, with the Big Three firms opening almost all of their outlets, and most independent shops also ready to chase business. Whether a trip to the betting shop on Sunday has yet become an accepted part of the British weekend - not least on the day when the Premiership reaches its climax - remains to be seen.

Dettori got the Godolphin organisation's new campaign off to an ideal start in the Newmarket Stakes yesterday, and his loyal followers in the nation's shops were rewarded with 3-1 about Mick's Love, who may now enter the Derby reckoning. He is 16-1 with Hills for the Epsom Classic, though the Prix de Jockey-Club (French Derby) is an alternative.

Dettori also rode Moonshell, the 1995 Oaks winner, but she was tailed off in the Jockey Club Stakes and has been retired.