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Dancing to success 03/07/08

Legendary dancer and film star Cyd Charisse died last month but her name lives on through a six-year-old Kayf Tara mare who has now notched three wins over hurdles.

“It happened just before Christmas and the vet said it would be hugely expensive to operate,” says Nicole of the first horse she has bred. “It wasn’t negotiable that she should be given a chance; she was shut in over Christmas and amazingly the foot righted itself just with box rest.”

Cyd Charisse’s dam Silk Stockings (the name of the 1957 film in which the dancer starred) was sold in foal carrying her full-brother, Kayf Commander, who is now five and has been placed in a bumper at Wetherby. The mare’s owner Jean Broad, who was responsible for foaling Silk Stockings’ grand-dam, the 1983 Champion Stakes winner Cormorant Wood, has sent her back to Kayf Tara this year in partnership with Nicole.

The hurdler’s three wins and two placed efforts have all come on good or good to firm ground and she has thus been raced sparingly in her three seasons to date, giving her proud owner and breeder cause to hope she will be competing for years to come.

“She’s really a product of the Sweeting family: she was foaled by Christopher, raised at Overbury and broken in by Simon’s sister Lucinda Tyler. They’ve been wonderfully patient with her,” says Nicole.

“The best thing about her is that she’s very willing and has a great attitude to racing. She’s not a world beater but she’s great fun. The Timeform comment on her says: ‘A really likeable mare. Tough’. That’s good enough for me.”