| 7.3°C Dublin

BHA eyeing Derby date for Dettori

BRITISH Horseracing Authority chief executive Paul Bittar is hopeful jockey Frankie Dettori can be given the go-ahead to return to action before next weekend's Investec Derby.

French racing authority France Galop banned Dettori, 42, for six months after he tested positive for cocaine at Longchamp last September, with his suspension reciprocated by the BHA. The Italian had been due to make his comeback this week, but remains exiled after a test carried out by France Galop produced an "irregularity".

But Bittar is expectant the jockey's return to the saddle will now be hastened after he spent the last few days in France. He said: "I know they are very hopeful he'll satisfy all their requirements in the next few days. If they can, we are in a position to green light him very quickly."

Among the trainers Dettori has ridden work for during the build-up to his return is Aidan O'Brien. Asked at the Curragh yesterday if he would like to use Dettori this season, O'Brien said: "Absolutely, Frankie has always been a great rider."

O'Brien was asked about suggestions Dettori had been riding out in Ballydoyle, and said: "I think there was an Italian lad there."



Ralston Road could have found the route to the Curragh for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby after defying top weight in a handicap at Chester on Saturday.

Trainer Pat Shanahan has his eyes on the Classic on June 29 after the Dylan Thomas colt followed up a Leopardstown success with a game effort on the Roodee.

There is a chance Ralston Road could first take in a Listed event at Leopardstown. "He'll probably go for the Irish Derby," said Shanahan.