Friday 15 December 2017

Dettori 'in good shape' ahead of Lingfield comeback

Fit and ready for action: Frankie Dettori
Fit and ready for action: Frankie Dettori

Marcus Armytage

FRANKIE DETTORI, who missed the winning ride on Treve in the Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe last October after breaking his right ankle four days before the race, makes a low-key comeback at Lingfield Park today.

Afterwards, he will fly to Dubai to partner Mshawish in a $250,000 Group Two race for his boss, Sheikh Joaan Al Thani tomorrow, but it will be a rare visit to his old stomping ground this winter as he plans to concentrate on the British all-weather.

Speaking while working hard on his treadmill yesterday he said: "I had five screws put in the ankle and they are going to leave them in. I've had a good winter with the family and I've combined that with my usual routine and plenty of training.

"I haven't even had a twinge in the ankle riding out. Am I fit? I'm fit enough to start, but, as everyone knows, there is nothing like race-riding to bring you on."

About his ankle, which he also broke in a plane crash in 2000, albeit in a different place, the Arsenal fan joked: "I think my footballing career's over. Arsene Wenger will have to do without me now and I suggest he starts looking for a new striker.

"I've had three and a half months off and I'm ready to start. I'm looking forward to it. The weather is a bit chilly for me, but you've got to start somewhere. I'm in good shape and I'm ready to go.

Dettori, who turned 43 in December, has had a wretched couple of years. In 2012, after his position as No 1 jockey at Godolphin was undermined, he was sacked by his long-time patron Sheikh Mohammed after taking the ride on Camelot for the rival Coolmore organisation in the Arc.

Unbeknown at the time, he was also about to receive a six-month ban after failing a drugs test in France.

Last year was not much better. His return to race-riding suffered a series of false starts as the French authorities refused to give him clearance to ride at the end of his ban and he had ridden just 16 winners when he broke his ankle in a fall going down to the start before a race at Nottingham.

The one highlight, however, was being offered the Sheikh Joaan job and riding Treve to win her Arc trial, the Prix Vermeille.

There is nothing remotely like Treve among his three rides today. He starts off with Eco Warrior for John Hills. He then partners Gone With The Wind in the six-furlong maiden and, one to test both the lungs and legs, Exemplary in the two-mile race. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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