Dettori set for Kingston Hill ride in Eclipse
Published 04/07/2014 | 02:30
Ballydoyle's progressive American import Verrazano will spearhead a potent three-pronged Irish assault on a mouth-watering edition of the Coral-Eclipse Stakes at Sandown tomorrow that could see Frankie Dettori replace Andrea Atzeni aboard the Derby runner-up Kingston Hill.
Atzeni has ridden the Roger Varian-trained Group One-winning colt in each of its five career starts, but his retainer Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum has claimed him to ride at Haydock instead.
Varian has second call on Atzeni's services and Al Maktoum has cut him some slack to allow him ride Kingston Hill in the past, but this time he has pulled rank for Luca Cumani's hat-trick-seeking Roseburg in a handicap that starts an hour and 25 minutes after the Eclipse.
Al Maktoum allowed Atzeni get off a Cumani also-ran to travel to the Curragh last Saturday, only for Kingston Hill to be withdrawn due to the prevailing fast ground.
With conditions at the Esher venue on the fast side of good for tomorrow, Kingston Hill is again a possible non-runner, though he would be part of a fascinating five-strong contingent from the Classic crop if he does line up.
"We're keen to run and I'm sick of looking at weather forecasts," admitted a frustrated Varian of the 7/1 shot, while Atzeni was magnanimous about having to vacate the ride on such an exciting colt.
"When you have a retainer there's always a risk of something like this happening," he said.
"To be fair, Mohammed has been very good regarding Kingston Hill and has let me off a couple of times, but this weekend he wants me at Haydock and I totally understand that.
"It's a shame, obviously, but it's one of those things. I'm going to ride a lovely horse which is improving very fast. I'll be cheering Kingston on, though, make no mistake. I'm happy Frankie rides him."
With Joseph O'Brien suspended, Ryan Moore rides the Queen Anne runner-up Verrazano (11/2), as Seamie Heffernan steps in on Aidan O'Brien's other runner, War Command (8/1). Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning complete the raiding party via last year's Irish Derby victor Trading Leather (20/1).
Richard Hannon's 2,000 Guineas hero Night Of Thunder – second to Kingman in the St James's Palace – is the closest market rival to The Fugue at 7/2.
John Gosden's mare is no bigger than 9/4 to replicate her stunning Ascot triumph over Magician and Treve in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes.
O'Brien's rejuvenated team will be represented by Adelaide – second to Gosden's Eagle Top in the King Edward VII – in tomorrow's Belmont Derby in New York, where he will face Jamie Osborne's Jamie Spencer-ridden UAE Derby victor, Toast Of New York.
Colm O'Donoghue rides Adelaide, and he will also steer Wonderfully for O'Brien in the fillies' equivalent, with Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen fielding Khalid Abdullah's Athasi Stakes winner Flying Jib in the Oaks.
Flying Jib was one of 46 entries revealed yesterday for the Coolmore Matron Stakes at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend in September, with Clive Brittain's stylish Coronation Stakes winner Rizeena one of the star names engaged in the mile Group One. Weld's Jersey Stakes winner Mustajeeb could reappear on the same card's Group Two Solonoway Stakes.
Meanwhile, the British Horseracing Authority has announced that former riding colleagues Brendan Powell and Graham Bradley are the subject of an investigation into whether Bradley, who has been acting as assistant to the Lambourn handler, has been training horses in Powell's name.
Bradley was warned off for five years after being found guilty of passing information for reward, but his ban ended in 2009. He has been frustrated in his attempt to acquire a licence since last year.
Powell was keen to stress that nothing untoward has occurred, stating: "Graham brought the horses to my yard and I've been training them for a year and a half while he's been waiting to get a licence. He has been in here three or four days a week helping out.
"I've been training the horses, they're in my yard and I'll just have to go along with what they say. All I've been trying to do is help Graham because he had a lot to learn and that is basically what it is."