Horse of a lifetime: Henry Cecil and Bosra Sham

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  • Bosra Sham, named after a place in Syria, is the only horse whom Henry Cecil can honestly say “I loved very much”.

    She was his temptress for 36 nightmarish months, because Bosra Sham, the world¨s highest-priced yearling in 1994, was considered to be one of the most exciting racehorses of modern times, and the most vulnerable.

    “She was so impressive,” Henry says. “One or two people thought I overrated her, but they never saw her work at home. She would go out with three others and atthe six furlong marker, they would draw abreast.

    “She was so quick, you would not see her pull out and the next minute she was six lengths ahead.”At Newbury, the two-year-old filly by Woodman dispatched the field with all the panache and sparkle, which was later to earn her the racing scribes votes for horse of the year.

    But she had a problem with her near fore foot. The wall was weak. When it grew, it would not hold and would break again.

    Between 1995 and 1997 Bosra Sham ran 10 times, had seven spectacular wins and each was a triumph of Henry Cecil’s and his farrier’s care.She won the 1000 Guineas and walked into the winner’s enclosure as though she were on hot coals. She had four months off, was a rusty second in the QueenElizabeth stakes and was next produced to be spot on for the Dubai Champion stakes.

    Yet, the traumatic night before the big race, Henry Cecil found Bosra Sham’s pulse rate up, needing the shoe to be removed to relieve the pressure and for the foot to be redressed.

    The game little chesnut, who bucked and whipped round at home, was the only professional on the course and beat the field yet again the following day.

    She came out last year as a four-year-old, won two and would have made itthree had her jockey not gone for a gap which was not there. Bosra Sham was then going to set the field ablaze in the Juddmonte International at York.

    Henry Cecil explains: “I had to put a special shoe on her and it flew off at the bend. She still managed to finish fourth, but there was so much damage, there was no way we could continue.”

    “If she had four good feet, she could have ruled the waves.”

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