08/09/2002 11:00PM

Sakhee loses at 1-5

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The race intended to serve as a confidence boost for Sakhee instead did nothing except disappoint his connections and the public that made him the 1-5 favorite.

Facing an undistinguished field of older horses in Saturday's Group 3 Prix Gotaut-Biron at Deuville, France, on Saturday, Sakhee had to settle for second, a length behind Wellbeing.

The 5-year-old Sakhee, racing for the first time since finishing third in the Dubai World Cup in March, was expected to dominate the 1 1/4-mile race restricted to nonwinners of a Group 1 race this year.

But jockey Richard Hills, substituting for regular rider Frankie Dettori, who is ill with chickenpox, could not get Sakhee to hold off Wellbeing's closing kick in the final furlong.

Wellbeing was just a nose behind Mutafaweq in last year's Coronation Cup, but had not won anything classier than a listed race this season.

Simon Crisford, racing manager for Godolphin Racing, admitted Sakhee's performance was sub-par and mystifying, especially since the horse got the soft turf he prefers.

"Obviously we are very disappointed he didn't win," Crisford said. "We will take him home and see if anything comes to light to explain this disappointing performance in the next 48 hours."

* At Ascot in England, David Flores failed to match last year's two winners in the Blue Square Shergar Cup. Flores, who captained the Rest of the World team of jockeys, finished with 20 points, including a pair of runner-up finishes.

Richard Hughes of Ireland rode three winners on the card and finished with 45 points to lead the England-Ireland team to a 137-110 victory.