08/12/2002 11:00PM

Two weeks key for Sakhee

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Sakhee will be given two weeks to prove to Godolphin that his shocking defeat in the Prix Gontaut-Biron on Saturday was only an aberration.

Sakhee, the defending Arc de Triomphe champion, returned from Deauville to his stall at Saeed bin Suroor's Newmarket yard on Monday morning in good order. Preliminary tests indicated that he was suffering no ill effects from his weekend exertions.

How then, to explain his one-length defeat to the 6-1 Wellbeing? The 1-5 favorite, Sakhee simply couldn't catch Wellbeing, whose previous effort had been an easy win in the listed Grand Prix de Compiegne.

Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, pointed out that Sakhee had had a delayed start to his 4-year-old campaign when he came off a one-year absence in July 2001 to win the listed Steventon Stakes. That race put him on edge for big victories in the Juddmonte International and the Arc.

The 1 1/4-mile Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Sept. 7 would likely be Sakhee's next start, but if he fails to recover his old sparkle during the next two weeks, his case will be turned over to owner Hamdan Al Maktoum for a decision concerning his future.

In the meantime, Coral Eurobet has raised his Arc odds from 4-1 to 8-1.