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Frankie whips up Ballydoyle option

FRANKIE DETTORI was determined to prove a point last Sunday, and that he did. After riding in 24 consecutive Prix de l'Arc de Triomphes, and being just one short of the record four wins by any jockey in the race, Dettori was driven to participate.

So determined was he to ride in one of the most high-profile races on the calendar, that Dettori could have almost severed his ties with his long-term employer, Sheikh Mohammed.

Word on the street is that he informed the relevant people of Godolphin by a text message that he would be teaming up with arch-rivals Coolmore and partnering what is likely to be their flagship sire when he is retired to stud. Considering that Sheikh Mohammed's Darley operation is one of Coolmore's fiercest rivals, this saga just couldn't be going down well.

Dettori surely had many reasons. His longevity at the top of the game was questioned by many earlier in the year, and possibly even by his employer when they signed up youngsters Mickael Barzalona and Silvestre de Sousa as 'understudies'.


Barzalona has often seemed to be a fair bit beyond an understudy and although rumours of Dettori's retirement were quashed, relationships are surely not at an all-time high.

Wins in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot on Colour Vision and a power-packed ride on Willing Foe to win the Ebor, were Dettori's way of proving he has plenty more to offer. His determination and disregard for the consequences of riding in the Arc for Ballydoyle was a sure sign that the Italian is hungry as ever.

There may have been an even bigger incentive behind Dettori's decision, however.

With Barzalona already after riding three Group One winners for the boys in blue this year, including the St Leger when Dettori was left to find his own ride in the race, the Italian could be looking at what next year has to bring.

There would be a possibility that Godolphin would further reduce Dettori's rides in 2013, and there is also a big possibility that Dettori riding for Ballydoyle last Sunday may open up a more permanent opportunity.

Joseph O'Brien has done a fantastic job in defying science and riding at weights well below his natural body weight.

The youngster wouldn't walk under a six-foot door with a straight back and as the winter closes in on us, it will be a very long one as O'Brien tries to continue to control his weight to enable him to do 9st again next season.

It's quite possible that Dettori took a chance. He risked his relationship with Godolphin and Sheikh Mohammed on the chance that a more permanent role would pop up next year at Ballydoyle if O'Brien cannot present himself at the scales as a Flat jockey.

Frankie Dettori has ridden two Group One winners for Godolphin in 2012. Last Sunday may well have been a stepping stone for him to ride 10 or more for Coolmore in 2013, now who'd have saw that coming before last Wednesday?